Community

Donations pour in to Richmond Christmas Fund

Wayne Duzita (right), community chair of the Richmond Christmas Fund, said people have stepped forward from all walks of life to help fundraising efforts this year. Duzita is in the Christmas Fund toyroom with Lawrie Portigal, Elizabeth Specht and Santa Claus.  -
Wayne Duzita (right), community chair of the Richmond Christmas Fund, said people have stepped forward from all walks of life to help fundraising efforts this year. Duzita is in the Christmas Fund toyroom with Lawrie Portigal, Elizabeth Specht and Santa Claus.
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More than 2,000 low-income people of all ages saw Richmond’s community spirit first-hand this month with the help of the Richmond Christmas Fund.

“People have stepped forward from all walks of life and it’s been very gratifying,” said Wayne Duzita, community chair of the Richmond Christmas Fund.

Cash donations to the fund have totalled $170,000 this season—shy of the fund’s $200,000 goal. Nonetheless, the total is 15 per cent greater than last year.

“There is no doubt that the community this year stepped forward at a different level than they have in years past,” said Duzita. “Just the fact that we have a larger base of people who came forward really shows that the organization and the contribution of the community was there for us to support families in need.”

Money raised goes toward food vouchers for those in need, allowing 2,000 local residents to enjoy the holidays with fresh groceries. The fund also distributed donations of new toys to hundreds of children ages 15 and under.

“An incredible amount of toys came in. We were able to pretty well fulfill all the wishes of those who registered with enough good quality toys for all their children,” said Duzita.

Some fortunate families have been matched with a generous sponsor for a custom food and gift hamper. Sponsors include individuals, families and companies who create a personalized food and gift package for their sponsored family based on its need.

As for those who registered for help this year, organizers noticed a change. This year brought a greater number of seniors, single men and smaller single-parent families.

A boost in the fund’s profile helped with donations, said Duzita, noting support came from all over. Realtors, Richmond’s three Rotary clubs, the Richmond Auto Mall and Dueck, business professionals, professional athletes and many individuals who’ve never contributed before all came forward.

“The profile created this year with the help of The Review, more people came forward. We had stronger support from the business and individuals in the community.”

The Richmond Christmas Fund program is also made possible with over 120 volunteers who contribute their time each year to help with registration, distribution and fundraising events.

How to help

•Richmond Christmas Fund welcomes cash donations, which are primarily used to buy grocery vouchers for needy families. Donate by cheque via mail: Richmond Christmas Fund; 190-7000 Minoru Blvd.; Richmond, BC; V6Y 3Z5. Donations can also be made online at volunteerrichmond.ca. Donations of new, unwrapped books and toys (no stuffed animals) can also be dropped off at the gift wrap booth at Richmond Centre mall until end of Boxing Day.

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