WHAT’S IN STORE: ‘Tis the season for local businesses to give

Giving comes in many forms this Christmas

Santa Vader is making one of his annual stopovers at Toy Traders in Langley this weekend, to hang out with Matthew Purdy, his staff, and a few hundred guests expected to stop in for photos the the Star Wars antagonist.

Sure, he doesn’t do ho-ho-ho and he’s not especially jolly.

But again, as in past, Vader and a number of the others from 501st Legion Outer Rim Garrison of BC – a group of B.C. Star Wars fans devoted to creating exact replicas of the costumes from the classic film series – will be at the store on Sunday, Dec. 1 from noon to 4 p.m.

READ RELATED: ‘Darth Santa’ raises money to help needy Langley families this Christmas

Photos are by donation to Langley Christmas Bureau.

The various cosplay events at Toy Traders through the years have raised thousands for various charities. Last year’s Santa Vader event broke all records bringing in about $5,000.

This event follows on the heels of the Christmas Wish Breakfast held Tuesday at Newlands Golf & Country Club.

SEE RELATED: Christmas Wish Breakfast crowd grows

Stay tuned to the Langley Advance Times for a variety of other community initiatives aimed at providing food, toys, and gifts for less fortunate in our community this holiday season.

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Bootcamp for bureau

Speaking of Christmas spirit, BEFIT owner Josh Saunders and his team are reving up to have some fun and raise money this weekend for the the Langley Christmas Bureau.

This coming Saturday, Nov. 30, starting at 8 a.m., BEFIT is hosting its eighth annual bootcamp drive with more than a 100 people expected to again participate.

“Our charity bootcamp last year had 110 people attend and raised $2,565, and we have giveaways from local Langley busineses that we raffle off,” Saunder explained.

“Each year, I am reminded of the amazingness of our community when this day rolls around,” he said.

“Your generosity humbles me. Your spirit impresses me.”

It costs $10 per person, and more detail is available online at www.thebootcampeffect.com.

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Teddy helps

Speaking of giving, there are a few places around town where you can buy teddy bears that ultimately help others this holiday season.

Real Canadian Superstore, for instance, has its PC Charity Bear, which is selling for $15 each. Then, $5 from each of the bears sold go to feeding a child in Canada through the President’s Choice Children’s Charity initiative.

And for the 31st year in a row, BC Liquor Stores are doing their part with the annual Share-a-Bear campaign.

Until the end of December, customers can purchase a pair of stuffed bears for $11.70 plus tax. One of the bears they take home, and its twin is donated to a local shelter, hospital, or other charity in Langley.

More than 670,000 stuffed bears have been given out since the program’s inception, 22,000 of those last year alone.

FreshCo opens There’s a new kid on the block, for any who might have missed it.

READ RELATED: First look inside Aldergrove’s new FreshCo

There’s a new grocery store that opened this month in town – in the former Safeway location on the Aldergrove-Abbotsford border.

FreshCo, a division of Sobeys, renovated the space after Safeway closed earlier this year.

Franchise operator Benjamin Wade and his team opened mid-month, and as part of their grand opening they gave a free pound of butter to the first 500 guests and gifted a $2,500 donation to the Aldergrove Food Bank.

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Lauding others

For the seventh year running, Mr. Mikes Steakhouse is running its Deeds Well Done campaign.

So, from now until the end of December, guests can visit any of the 44 restaurants across the country – including those at the Langley restaurant – and nominate their favourite registered charity.

One nominated local charity will win, receiving community-wide recognition, a group dinner at the local location, plus $500.

The giving doesn’t end there. In exchange for their nomination, every guest receives a $25 gift card, explained said president Robin Chakarbarti.

“We have chosen to take this approach to charitable involvement as opposed to picking one main cause because it gives us an opportunity to recognize unsung heroes and more deeply connect with the communities that we have restaurants in,” Chakarbarti said.

More information available online, or by following the restaurant on social media @MrMikesOnline.

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Don’t forget lonely seniors this Christmas

Seniors need Santa, too.

We often hear that Christmas is for the kids, however for the millions of seniors in Canada who report feeling isolated and lonely during the holidays, a kind gesture from an anonymous Santa during could be life changing.

London Drugs is continuing its tradition of the Stocking Stuffers for Seniors program, which sees them partner with more than 90 senior care organizations. The initiative was started three years ago.

It’s easy. People can stop by the local store, take a tag with a seniors’ wish from the tree, and return that item to the store before Dec. 16.

Organizers noted that donated items don’t need to be purchased from a London Drugs store — any new, non-gift wrapped item is accepted. Popular gift ideas include magazines, blankets and throws, kitchen essentials, candy/chocolate, board games and puzzles, slippers or warm socks, gloves, scarves, travel mugs, and gift cards.

“Just the act of receiving a gift helps to significantly improve the spirits of a senior and can have lasting mental and physical health benefits,” said Jimmy Morrison, a community relations supervisor with a receiving seniors society.

“Many seniors without family spend the season alone, and it can be an especially difficult time for them. The simple gesture of giving a gift shows our seniors that people care about them at a time of year when they tend to feel the most isolated and alone.”

More information is also available online.

The goal this year is to bring some extra holiday cheer to 17,000 seniors across the country.

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Santa and his elves deliver gifts to seniors. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

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