We have supplied a $40,000 grant to the Surrey Christmas Bureau to support their COVID-19 readiness project which consists of personal protective equipment and an upgraded user-friendly registration system. As the Surrey Christmas Bureau is volunteer run, with a median volunteer age of 65, this project is designed to ensure a safe environment for staff, volunteers and clients through the installation of physical barriers, sanitation stations, masks and moving their registration system online. These preliminary changes are necessary as their team provides essential services to vulnerable families experiencing poverty.
The Surrey Christmas Bureau is the Lower Mainland’s largest Christmas charity working to ensure excitement and anticipation for a joyous holiday season. For over 40 years, the Surrey Christmas Bureau has worked to provide equity, ensuring that each family can enjoy a happy holiday season. The Surrey Christmas Bureau, therefore, delivers toys and grocery vouchers to thousands of low-income families. As a grassroots non-profit organization, the Bureau relies on a couple hundred volunteers to support their projects, which allow them to provide families with food, toys, books and clothing. Each year, they work to ease vulnerable community members of their holiday stresses. This year is not entirely different; parents still want to get their children presents and families still want to eat meals as one. While families have been thinking about the Christmas season since the summer, the Bureau has been planning with devotion to safety and festivity so that all can enjoy this time of year.
“Poverty is keenly felt all year round, but it is particularly painful at Christmas time, especially for children and struggling parents. This Christmas is likely to be even more difficult than any other as many parents have suffered job losses during the pandemic,” explained Lisa Werring, the Surrey Christmas Bureau’s Executive Director. She added that “The Surrey Christmas Bureau is committed to ensuring that parents will be able to fill stockings and put lovingly wrapped gifts under their Christmas tree; that families will be able to enjoy the all-important delicious Christmas dinner with their loved ones, safe in their bubble, together. The comfort of these simple traditions has never been more important.”
The grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares.
Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares, explained that "with COVID-19, there is an increased urgency to protect vulnerable volunteers and staff and also to increase support for families in need. This duality is evident with the Surrey Christmas Bureau’s hard work supporting vulnerable families. As Winter approaches, we wish to raise awareness of the Christmas Bureau’s services and shed light on the immensity of needs brought about by the Christmas season.”
Starting November 3rd, 2020, the Christmas Bureau will be collecting crucial toy donations at Surrey Fire Halls and at Guildford Town Centre. Once they are settled into their new Toy Centre location, (Fabricana is offering its property at 13853 104th Ave., the former Funky Monkey play centre) they will also take toy donations there. If you are unable to donate toys, dedicate some time this Christmas season to volunteer with the Bureau. Learn more about how to get involved at https://christmasbureau.com/.