Two-year-old Hudson Houweling snuggled up to a newborn lamb from Aldor Acres. The petting zoo was a popular attraction at the 12 Dayz of Christmas event at Willoughby Town Centre Dec. 12.

Burgers at Willoughby holiday event support Langley family

Donations to a hamburger barbecue in front of Hakam’s Your Independent Grocer benefited a local family in need.

PHOTO: All funds raised from Saturday’s hamburger barbecue set up in front of Hakam’s Your Independent Grocer are going to help a local family in need. The by-donation barbecue was part of the 12 Dayz of Christmas. Two of the people behind the barbecue were Pam Stadnik from Remax Treenland Realty and Hakam Cheema, owner/operator of Hakam’s. )Troy Landreville/Langley Advance)

Willoughby is Langley’s fastest-growing neighbourhood, but judging by the response to Saturday’s barbecue fundraiser in front of Hakam’s Your Independent Grocer, that doesn’t take away from the strong sense of community that exists amongst its residents.

The burgers were cooked up by donation, with proceeds benefiting a family in need.

“I will match whatever is raised,” Hakam Cheema, the grocery store’s owner/operator, vowed late Saturday morning.

The sale ended up raising $300, matched by Cheema, for a grand total of $600, with all the money going towards gifts and food for a full Christmas dinner for the family.

The most generous donor was Keith Setter from RE/MAX Treeland Realty.

Setter donated $90 towards the cause.

The fundraiser in front of Hakam’s was part of the 12 Dayz of Christmas – a community event at Willoughby Town Centre – and came about from a discussion involving Cheema, Setter, and Pam Stadnik.

“During our conversation, the barbecue idea was brought up and discussed,” Cheema related. “Keith and Pam said they would pay for the supplies and I would match the donations.”

Cheema added, “I was speaking to one of my employees who mentioned she knew a family going through some tough times and could use some assistance, especially this time of the year.”

The generosity and goodwill at the barbecue shows just how much of a community the Willoughby neighbourhood is, Cheema added: “Being here in Willoughby for three years, now, I believe Willoughby is becoming its own very close-knit community. It’s very exciting to see.”

The 12 Dayz of Christmas featured a mobile petting zoo (including a sheep and her newborn lamb triplets born at Aldor Acres Dec. 11), live entertainment, a wreath making workshop, horse and carriage rides, photos with Santa, facepainting, and a fashion show by Vanilla Clothing.

As well, visitors were asked to bring new and gently used clothes and winter garb for a coat drive supporting Gateway of Hope, and there was a food drive for people to drop off non-perishable donations.

PHOTO: A polar bear mascot admired gingerbread houses built by students from Richard Bulpitt Elementary. The tasty houses were on display in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart at Willoughby Town Centre on Saturday, during the 12 Dayz of Christmas community festival. (Troy Landreville/Langley Advance)

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