The Langley Christmas Bureau is wrapping up for the holiday season after this week’s toy giveaway days for families registered with the local charity.
The volunteer-based bureau will hold its annual toy depot days from Monday, Dec. 16 to Wednesday, Dec. 18, where registered families will be invited in to shop holiday gifts for their little ones.
Each day the charity will see about 300 families walk through its doors, according to Donalda Whaites, co-chair of the local bureau.
Starting Monday, about 150 families will visit the bureau from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then another 150 between 1 to 4 p.m. over the three days.
“We put all our toys out according to age groups… and then what these people [volunteers] do is, they then take them and box them up… so if you come in Wednesday morning you don’t get what’s left over, you have equally good things because we’ve restocked all the tables,” she explained.
Each holiday season the charity helps support around 700 to 750 local families and about 1,800 children, Whaites said.
Registered families who arrive at the bureau will be supported by volunteers to help them shop.
“They get to choose a minimum of two toys, two things, for their children because they’re not necessarily all toys… and then they’re given a bag of stocking stuffers… and then they can choose a craft game or puzzle for the family,” said Whaites.
In addition to the Christmas gifts the bureau ensures each family enjoys a holiday meal.
“As well as the toys, when our clients come in they are either sponsored by a church, an organization or family who provides the food,” Whaites explained. “Or some of our families, because they don’t necessarily eat the same things that you and I do, they are given gift cards to go and buy food.”
Also, volunteers with the Langley Literacy Association will be at the bureau over the three days to distribute about $11,000 in new books for the children.
An age group that often gets overlooked year after year is teens between 12 to 15 years old, but it is because teens are often tougher to shop for, Whaites said.
“What this age group wants, we can’t afford,” she said. “They want a phone, they want a PlayStation or something.”
Earlier Whaites said the bureau started giving teens between 16 to 18 years old a $50 gift card to Willowbrook mall and a stocking stuffer, so they can purchase something they’ll enjoy.
This is the first year the Langley Christmas Bureau instituted a means test. Clients had to bring in financial paperwork to ensure people who are receiving the help need it.
After the final toy depot day on Wednesday, Dec. 18 the Langley Christmas Bureau will be closed for the season so volunteers can enjoy their Christmas holidays, too.