Hope Shared at Christmas

Now that we are officially on the other side of the Holiday whirlwind, we find ourselves reflecting on and savoring each and every story that was graciously shared with us. The theme through the stories, it seems, is one of overwhelming gratitude and hope from both the giver and receiver. As an organization, we are so thankful to get this type of feedback. We are honoured to be able to see and hear how our neighbours came together to take care of those who are struggling—especially through the Christmas season.

 

 

This year, our community provided Christmas meals and gifts for 2,601 people in Abbotsford. From this number, 1,171 were children. That is a lot of people who didn’t have to feel alone, who knew that a community cared (and continues to care) for them, and who now have hope for a new year.

 

This year, 349 households (that’s a lot of people!) were sponsored by families, groups, businesses and schools. These sponsors, who make Christmas so special, were matched with a family or senior from the Christmas Bureau and given permission to see a list of items that they needed. They then shopped for and delivered the items directly to the family or senior. Where else does one get to meet the person they are directly helping? We want to give you a peek behind the curtain, to see what we see and know the stories we know.

 

“Sponsoring a family has become a part of our Christmas Tradition. We love that we get to show our young children how to show and share love in such a tangible way. Giving to others helps to shift their focus (and ours) from thinking about what we get, to how we can give. We were privileged to meet and help a lovely single mom and her 4 beautiful children. We all left the drop off with full and happy hearts! We are looking forward to sponsoring families for years to come.”- Carly Toews

“We went to go deliver food and gifts to a senior and she poured her heart out and told us her story. She was spending Christmas alone as she had recently lost her husband she was so thankful she had some company even if it was just for an hour. It made us feel that the little we did for her went a long way . This made us realize that you don’t need to have a lot to be able to give someone what they really need. We have been sponsoring a family and senior for the past 3 years and I cannot emphasize enough how amazing it feels to help someone out. We have been blessed as a family and for us to be able to bless someone else with all the happiness and warmth is why we sponsor and why we will continue to sponsor.”  –Mankatala Family

“We had no money for Christmas and went to the Food Bank for help. I remember getting the phone call saying that we were sponsored. I was moved to tears as I thought of this selfless family who, without even realizing it, would change not only our Christmas but our lives. Since this experience, my children try to do whatever they can to help the community, whether it be picking up garbage or helping someone across the street. I will never forget the looks on their faces when they opened their presents on Christmas day. They were overjoyed! Thank you to the Food Bank and to the family that sponsored us. We will be forever grateful.” – Anonymous

“Asking for help to provide Christmas for my children was really hard for me. I almost canceled a few times! When my sponsor called, she was so friendly and reminded me that I have nothing to be ashamed of. On the day of delivery, she showed up with food, gifts, and gift cards and I couldn’t believe it. It completely made my Christmas and I still tear up thinking about that day. It was like Santa Clause showed up to my house dressed in jeans and a cute haircut. Thank you so much! I hope that I will soon be able to be on the giving end!” – Anonymous

We couldn’t be more thankful for our wonderful community. Seeing our community’s generosity at Christmas is such a joy. Our hope is that this spirit of joyful giving wouldn’t end at Christmas.

One of the shocking stats that came out of this Christmas was that Seniors are in need now more than ever, as their usage of the Christmas Bureau was up 25% from last year. Together, we can make a difference. Here’s a simple shopping list of items to drop in the Food Bank bin at your local grocery store. Or, if you’d like, you can give online.  Thank you for your support, together we make a stand that the hungry will be fed.

 

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