Community

Plenty of ways to support the Richmond Christmas Fund

The weeks before Christmas are an intense time of year for everyone involved in the Richmond Christmas Fund.

Under the umbrella of Volunteer Richmond, the Richmond Christmas Fund provides low income Richmond residents with grocery vouchers for Christmas dinner, and new toys, books, stuffed animals, stocking stuffers, or gift cards for their children aged 15 and under. The fund also sponsors a hamper program, pairing private and corporate donors with low income families.

It all started in 1932 when Ethel Tibbits, the editor of The Richmond Review, provided hampers for needy families in Richmond. Over the years the name changed a few times and the program evolved to what it is today—part of a non-profit agency with various sources of funding. As can be expected, the funding comes and goes over the years as well. Thank goodness for community support.

As you can appreciate, it takes significant financial resources and the work of many volunteers to support these families and provide toys and gifts for the many children.

Last year a total of 2,266 individuals registered with the program. Of this number, 723 children aged 12 and under received gifts from the McDonald’s Toy Room or through direct family sponsorship and 256 teens received gift cards. This year, they expect 2,500 registrants (family registration begins November 28).

There’s rather a joyous feeling knowing how many people want to help, from the team of design students from the Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver who volunteered their talents to decorate the McDonald’s Toy Room (armed with a small budget and a lot of creativity, they will transform the toy room into Santa’s workshop) to realtors Patti Martin and Shafik Ladha’s Richmond Christmas Fund Realtor Challenge.

Each of these successful realtors donated $1,000 to the Christmas Fund and then began contacting their colleagues in the real estate community, asking them to donate $1,000 as well. You can see who accepted at the challenge at www.volunteerrichmond.ca.

How can you help? It’s easy. Donations and toys are accepted any time at the office, and they take credit card donations over the phone as well. Or, shop at Black Bond Books in Lansdowne Centre mall during this week. They are donating 15 per cent of all sales to the Richmond Christmas Fund. Ask to see Greg’s List (named after Christmas Fund Community Chair Greg Halsey-Brandt) for books that any child would love to receive.

Today, shop at Art Knapp Plantland on Minoru Blvd at Alderbridge Way and then head over the block to Galloway’s Specialty Foods. Both stores are donating 15 per cent of their sales to the Richmond Christmas Fund. Find a great selection of gifts for cooks and gardeners (and stock up your pantry and shed).

The Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel will be accepting donations on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 9 a.m. Drive by and drop off cash, new toys, books, or gift cards and receive a free coffee and McDonald’s muffin.

In January, when kids return to school and everyone asks ‘what did you get for Christmas?’ every child should be able to join in that conversation and thanks to the Richmond Christmas Fund, they can. Nice to know that you can help make that happen.

For more information, call 604-279-7026 or e-mail christmasfund@volunteerrichmond.ca.

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Community Events, September 2014

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