Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, sits behind a Plexi-glass barrier to check-in clients visiting the charity’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre at Langley City hall during the 2020 holiday season. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)

Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, sits behind a Plexi-glass barrier to check-in clients visiting the charity’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre at Langley City hall during the 2020 holiday season. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Christmas Bureau aid makes for a ‘grateful mother’

Local charity hopes to support more families

With the generous support from the community the Langley Christmas Bureau has helped hundreds of local families ahead of this holiday season, but there are still many the charity is hoping to support as it continues to work towards this year’s fundraising goal.

As of Monday, the bureau was still halfway to reaching its $280,000 target to give 800 local families and 2,000 children a happier Christmas this year.

Many who look to the bureau for assistance each holiday season were concerned the pandemic would curtail the local non-profit’s efforts, said Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Christmas bureau.

But the volunteer-run group has found a way to safely organize, and the charity’s clients are thankful for it.

MacAllister recounts a “grateful mother’s” story from last year that she believes is expressive of how clients feel after learning what the bureau can do for them.

“As a new single mother of three with severe health needs in our family, it has been a tough year,” the woman shared with MacAllister. “I found myself overwhelmed with kindness from our sponsor family and the Christmas bureau.”

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It was the first time the woman found herself in a situation where she required the financial support, describing it as a “difficult and humbling experience,” MacAllister relayed.

“Our hearts are full and our kitchen pantry too,” the woman told MacAllister. “I was able to have gifts for my children that I couldn’t have done otherwise. I walked around a grocery story with gift cards to spend – trying not to cry, as it was overwhelming for me to be able to buy basic food and treats I have not [been] able to purchase.”

In lieu of toys the bureau is collecting gift card donations and cash in order to comply with provincial health safety guidelines amid the ongoing pandemic.

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

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.

The Langley Christmas Bureau is operating out of its temporary location at the Timms Community Centre (20399 Douglas Cres.) Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. until Dec. 12.

Donations can be made online or in-person at Langley City Hall (20399 Douglas Cres.).

The Langley Christmas Bureau is entirely volunteer-operated, none of the funds raised go towards anything but local families in need, MacAllister emphasized.

Last year the bureau estimates generous donors supported around 650 local families.

This year the need is expected to be far greater due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Families requiring assistance are still welcome to contact and register with the local bureau.

For more information on registration or to make a donation visit langleychristmasbureau.com or call 604-530-3001.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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Charity and DonationsLangleyLangley Christmas Bureau