Deal-hunting Winnipegger’s holiday hamper project snowballing as demand grows

When the temperatures start to dip, Ally Beauchesne begins scouring flyers and thrifty Facebook groups, looking for the best deals on all the things that make the holidays merry and bright.

She posts her daily finds to her X page.

“Today’s amazing grocery deal is Pasta Sauce! Classico pasta sauce is $1.97 at Walmart,” she wrote on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, on Nov. 15.

But the deal hunting is in service of Winnipeggers in need.

She called on her followers to help her buy 100 jars. Within a day, people had donated enough money to meet the tomatoey target.

The jars of sauce will line boxes filled with other non-perishable and fresh food items, personal care goods and toys as part of The Hamper Project.

Beauchesne started the endeavour in 2020 after reading an article a friend wrote about the difference hampers made in her life when she was a child.

“I had a two-year-old, and I was expecting another. I just knew that I was very fortunate and I wanted to give back,” she told CTV Morning Live Winnipeg in an interview.

In the first year, she put together seven hampers with help from the community.

As the needs grew every Christmas, so too did The Hamper Project.

Ally Beauchesne’s basement is shown packed with donations in a December 2021 photo. It has served as the staging ground for The Hamper Project since its inception in 2020. (Source: Ally Beauchesne/X)

Last year, she made 49 hampers, a number Beauchesne is on pace to surpass this year.

“Organizations are already reaching out to me, and I have 48 families on my list, but we’ve only collected enough donations for 21.”

Folks have many ways to donate. They can send money directly to Beauchesne to go buy the daily grocery deal finds, or they can buy them themselves and drop them off. She also has an Amazon wish list filled with well-priced toys, non-perishable food items and other comfort items hand-selected by Beauchesne to get the best bang for your buck.

Sometimes Winnipeggers get in on the deal hunting themselves.

“Someone sent me a text that cereal was $1.49 at the Sobeys Cash and Carry and honestly, they bought 102, and it was amazing.”

(Source: Ally Beauchesne/X)

Anyone looking to contribute to the Hamper Project can find details on its Facebook group.

While Beauchesne is the one spearheading The Hamper Project, she says it’s a true group effort.

“I call myself the girl with the Excel sheet because I’m the one putting it together, but the community is the one that really puts it together.”

– With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagacé

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