This year, Kimz Angels of Langley was able to help almost twice as many needy families at Christmas time.
Kimz Angels founder Kimberly Snow estimated donations roughly doubled this year, with two “fill the ambulance” drives alone collecting almost $6,000 in cash and enough contributions of food, clothing and other essentials to fill two ambulances several times over at both the Otter Co-op on Dec. 7 and 8, and the Murrayville IGA on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15.
“We were able to help 130 families this year,” Snow estimated, up from 75 the previous year.
Items will be distributed during the holiday season and into the new year, and some will be given out through the free store at the Langley Vineyard Church.
Response to the annual drive drew a constant flow of donors.
On the Saturday the ambulances were parked outside the IGA, Wendi Bordelay and grandson Lennox Zulyniak, five, came in from Clayton Heights with donations of coffee and clothing from the Helping Families in Need Society.
“And my personal stash,” Bordelay added.
A pickup truck filled with new clothing in all sizes pulled in, and volunteers transferred the contents to the second ambulance.
“We’ve got hundreds of track suits for our working poor and homeless,” Snow enthused.
Steve Stew, one of the founding members of the Kimz Angels, smiled.
“It will help Vinny’s outreach program,” Stew commented.
Vince Ford nodded.
“We’re getting a lot of donations,” he observed.
This year, Kimz Angels rolled out a repurposed former ambulance, painted pink as an anti-bullying symbol that will patrol the streets providing roadside assistance for the less fortunate.
It’s been about 20 years of working to help the needy, and in that time, the number of people involved in Kimz Angels has gone from the original three, Snow, Ford and Stew, to more than 70 people, Snow estimated.
The trend isn’t a good thing, as far as she is concerned.
“We’re not happy that we’re growing, because it means there’s more need in the community,” Snow told the Langley Advance Times.
The Kimz Angels website noted poverty is on the rise in British Columbia, that more people are now living below the poverty line than ever.
It goes on to say the provincial government “has no poverty reduction plan even as we reach epic levels of homelessness in British Columbia. Despite being one of the wealthiest ‘provinces in the country, 10.7 per cent of the population lives in poverty.”
They are looking for items like peanut butter, pasta, canned food, jam, salmon and tuna, soups, and granola bars as well as toiletries, clothing and baby supplies, such as diapers, baby food, and baby wipes.
Anything with an immediate expiry date like bread or milk, however, is not usable.
People who can’t make it to the IGA can make contributions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 604-838-6579.