Community is stepping up to help Christmas Bureau

The word is getting out the Christmas Bureau needs help.

After The Record ran a story last week detailing the effects the Candlelight Parade cancellation had on the annual program, people have been showing their concern, said Phil Hope, who has headed the Christmas Bureau for the past seven years.

“We’re still catching up,” said Hope. “There have been some very generous people coming by, but we still need lots more.”

The Christmas Bureau, which helps less fortunate families and individuals have a better holiday season, relies on the annual night-time parade for 25 per cent of food donations.

With significantly less donations compared to previous years, people are trickling in to help. One individual came in with a $2,000 donation, and somebody else gave $800, noted Hope.

“For someone to do that is incredible,” Hope added.

As of last week, the bureau had only raised about $10,000 of its $85,000 monetary goal.

To help make up for the loss, the Mission firefighters have volunteered to do another run around Mission to gather donations for the Christmas Bureau. The firefighter’s last ride will be tonight.

The trucks will leave fire station one at 6 p.m. and will be travelling along McRae Avenue between Hurd Street and Cedar Street to Kudo Drive.

Hope says he is grateful for the help, but originally declined the offer because “the firefighters do so much already.” However, Hope said the volunteers had already decided they wanted to do it.

“I applaud and thank them,” he added.

This week Wish Trees around town and the Angel Tree at Vancity will also be collected. “We’ve received the gifts from two of them,” said Hope on Monday. “And there are some nice gifts.”

Hope also noted some of the Wish Trees are bare, which means all the tags have been taken down.

People like to go shipping with their kids to pick up gifts and food, said Hope.

“I think everyone who brought in donations.”

Hope also thanked those who boarded the West Coast Express this past weekend with toy donations to the bureau.

While the Christmas Bureau is close to the home stretch, Hope says it’s not too late to register or donate. Food donations can also be dropped off at Scotiabank.

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