Emily Schlenker, with the City of Langley library, shows just a selection of books the Langley Literary Association purchased this 2020 season for kids helped by the local Christmas bureau. (Alicia Rempel/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Emily Schlenker, with the City of Langley library, shows just a selection of books the Langley Literary Association purchased this 2020 season for kids helped by the local Christmas bureau. (Alicia Rempel/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley group gives the gift of literacy this Christmas

Literacy association donates $12,000 in new books to local bureau

One thing COVID-19 couldn’t hamper this holiday season is the gift of literacy to Langley kids.

Thanks to charitable donors, the Langley Literacy Association was able to raise about $12,000 to purchase new books for 2,000 local children of families served by the Langley Christmas Bureau this holiday season.

“This year because of COVID and some of the financial struggles families are facing, we saw an increase [in the number of people relying on support from the bureau],” said Alicia Rempel, literacy outreach coordinator with the association.

She estimated about 1,700 local children were gifted books last year.

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But the increase in the number of books purchased is not the only change the volunteer-run bureau and local literacy group saw change.

Provincial health restrictions meant the bureau couldn’t organize toy depot days, where families visit the charity to shop for gifts and pick-up books for their kids.

“We were all very sad that we couldn’t meet face-to-face with the families,” Rempel said, noting it is something the group looks forward to each December.

But she was more-so glad they were able to safely organize and still provide support to families in need.

“The good news is we can still continue to give the gifts,” Rempel said.

As of Tuesday, the bureau had reached just over 60 per cent of its goal to raise $280,000.

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.

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“We have the librarians choose the books,” Rempel noted, explaining the association utilizes their expertise to select books popular with kids.

This year “graphic novels are all the rage,” she said. “We’re still delivering books to fill the need.”

The bureau wraps up its 2020 season Saturday, Dec.12, but the work doesn’t end there.

“We start again,” said Rempel about planning for the following year.

The bureau is operating out of its temporary location at the Timms Community Centre (20399 Douglas Cres.) from 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. until Saturday.

Cash or gift card donations can be made online or in-person.

For more information visit langleychristmasbureau.com or call 604-530-3001.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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