Generosity imperative this holiday season

Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, holds up donated gift cards at the bureau’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre in Langley City. The bureau is in need of cash, gift card or cheque donations this year to support 800 local families. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, holds up donated gift cards at the bureau’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre in Langley City. The bureau is in need of cash, gift card or cheque donations this year to support 800 local families. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Help give Langley kids a Christmas by donating to the local bureau. Open the camera app on your cellphone and hold it over the the QR code to find a prompt to re-direct you to the Christmas bureau website where a donation of any amount can be submitted. (City of Langley/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Help give Langley kids a Christmas by donating to the local bureau. Open the camera app on your cellphone and hold it over the the QR code to find a prompt to re-direct you to the Christmas bureau website where a donation of any amount can be submitted. (City of Langley/Special to Langley Advance Times)Help give Langley kids a Christmas by donating to the local bureau. Open the camera app on your cellphone and hold it over the the QR code to find a prompt to re-direct you to the Christmas bureau website where a donation of any amount can be submitted. (City of Langley/Special to Langley Advance Times) Help give Langley kids a Christmas by donating to the local bureau. Open the camera app on your cellphone and hold it over the the QR code to find a prompt to re-direct you to the Christmas bureau website where a donation of any amount can be submitted. (City of Langley/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, receives $2,500 in gift cards from Rotary Club of Langley Central’s Loraine Dickson on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, receives $2,500 in gift cards from Rotary Club of Langley Central’s Loraine Dickson on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, holds up donated gift cards at the bureau’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre in Langley City. The bureau is in need of cash, gift card or cheque donations this year to support 800 local families. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, holds up donated gift cards at the bureau’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre in Langley City. The bureau is in need of cash, gift card or cheque donations this year to support 800 local families. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)

The need for donations at the Langley Christmas Bureau is paramount as fundraising events that would typically support the local non-profit have been curbed due to the pandemic and provincial health restrictions.

“The need this year is for gift cards, cash, or cheque, [the] reason being we’re not doing toys… we want to keep our volunteers and the clients safe,” explained Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Christmas bureau.

“So we’re giving gift cards – we’re giving approximately $280,000 worth of gift cards this year, so our need for donations is very, very great,” she elaborated.

The bureau is working to raise the funds to support 800 local families and 2,000 children this holiday season.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Help give 2,000 local kids a Christmas by donating to the Langley bureau

“They (local families) are very thankful that we’re doing this this year because they didn’t think they would get anything,” said MacAllister, explaining clients thought COVID-19 meant support from the bureau this year would be interrupted.

“So our donations are very important, we need our donations,” she added.

The bureau is looking for gift card donations in $25 denominations to Toys R Us, Walmart, Willowbook Mall, or Superstore.

“It’s easy for our clients to go to those stores,” MacAllister explained, transportation being an issue for some, and these locations being located along bus routes.

Families registered with the Langley bureau receive a $50 gift card for each child towards the purchase of a toy, a $100 grocery gift card, plus an additional $50 grocery gift card for each child.

They also a receive a reading book voucher that can be redeemed at the Langley branches of the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

“Things are going really well with the families, they’re quite happy with what they’re getting from the Christmas bureau this year,” MacAllister said.

As of last week, the bureau had registered 620 families and serviced nearly half of them.

“We got lots of new clients who are coming in everyday,” MacAllister added, noting families in need can still contact the bureau to register. New clients can simply contact the bureau at 604-530-3001.

After registering with the non-profit, clients are given an appointment to come by to pick-up their gift cards at the bureau’s temporary location at the Timms Community Centre (20399 Douglas Cres.) between Mondays and Fridays, from 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. until Dec. 12.

“We’re only allowed a certain number of people in the building at one time and that’s why we’ve advised our clients to come in one person at a time,” MacAllister said.

Although COVID-19 has altered the bureau’s operations, what has remained consistent is the support from community organizations.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Toy drive for kids in hospital more important in year of COVID-19, says Keian’s parents

Early last week the bureau received a donation of $13,250 from the Langley Lions Club, a local organization that has consistently supported the non-profit, MacAllister said.

“We weren’t expecting as big a what we got this year,” she said about the size of the donation.

Then on Friday the Rotary Club of Langley Central delivered $2,500 in gift cards to the bureau.

“We love to help the children… we try and do a lot in our community,” said Loraine Dickson a Rotary representative, who hand delivered the gift cards.

Those wishing to donate can scan the Christmas bureau’s QR code, by opening the camera app on their cellphone and holding it over the bar code. Once the code is scanned an alert will appear to open the Christmas bureau’s webpage where a cash donation of any amount can be made.

For more information, people can also visit langleychristmasbureau.com or call 604-530-3001.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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