Christmas Bureau is Here to Help
by Candace Stock
(3 minute read)
It’s that time of year – wreathes and lights are going up, presents are being bought, families are planning their gatherings. Unfortunately for some, this time of year can be filled with fear of survival of the holiday. When the stress of being able to put food on the table already exists, gifts under the tree seem out of reach. Thankfully, with the help of our community, we are able to change that for many families.
At the Christmas Bureau, ensuring that every family gets to enjoy Christmas is top priority. This year, the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau Toy Room will be open for the weeks before Christmas. Our shelves will be stocked with gifts for babies, toddlers, kids, teens and for moms and dads. A large percentage of our toys comes from the Toys for Tots Christmas Breakfast, yet we also have many companies, charities, and families that hold toy drives for the Bureau as well. It’s pretty special seeing kids donate toys they wish they could keep. Their sacrifice ensures others will have a magical Christmas.
While toy donations are needed, monetary donations make a huge difference as well. With up to a 3-1 buying power, means your dollars stretch further in feeding people at Christmas. This year the Archway Food Bank and Christmas Bureau’s fundraising goal is $1.2 Million dollars. With your help, we can continue to strengthen our community with these valuable services. We believe we can do it!
What does a Day in the Life of the Christmas Bureau look like?
We open our doors Dec 1 and distribute food and gifts until December 24th. In order to be ready for Dec 1, so much preparation goes into making those short weeks possible. Thankfully, with the support of our community and volunteers, we expect to be able to help over 1,700 children this year.
What does a distribution day look like during those weeks? First off, every good day starts with Coffee. Thankfully, Starbucks donates enough coffee for all the guests and volunteers each day at the Christmas Bureau. Our volunteers arrive before the families arrive, so they can familiarize themselves with everything, and drink some coffee! When a family comes through the door, we check them in, and offer them coffee. Then a volunteer accompanies them while they shop through the Toy Room. There are toys sectioned off in each age group – baby, toddler, girls/boys age 5-10, teen and parents. The volunteer gets to help the family find something from their children’s wish list. Volunteers love seeing the hope in the eyes of a parent who know their children will share in the joy of Christmas.
What Gifts are Needed?
This year, some of the most popular items needed for girls aged 5-10 would love crafts, colouring books, LOL Surprise dolls, OMG Fashion Dolls, Cuteitoes mystery Surprise Animals, Candy Locks dolls, 500 piece puzzles, unicorn stuffies, slime, and Lego. Boys aged 5-10 would love Lego, Pokemon, Beyblades, Dog Man books, trucks, Spider Man & super Hero items, Remote Control cars, and electronics. Every year we always end up needing more teen gifts – it seems that whether you know them or not, teens are always the hardest to shop for! Some ideas for teens include art packs room décor, instant cameras, head phones, karaoke items, wireless speakers, journals/notebooks, clothing and gift cards.
Last year, our community helped 1762 of Abbotsford’s children experience the joy of Christmas. I hope this year we can reach just as many, if not more. What an honor it is to be able to help others have the weight of Christmas taken off their shoulders. Together, we can share in the joy of knowing we are helping families experience the spirit of Christmas.
Interested in helping? Check out all the options on how to make a difference here.