The Langley Christmas Bureau needs people, groups, and businesses to come forward if they are able to sponsor families.
This year, sponsorships are down and the Christmas bureau only has a matter of weeks to work its holiday magic.
“We don’t have enough sponsors for all the families that we’re looking after. We are really low this year on sponsorship,” said Patty Lester, the bureau’s coordinator.
Sponsors provide food for families matched with them by the bureau, about a week’s worth.
“You provide food for Christmas for the whole family and you contact the people and you deliver the food to them,” she said. “And it’s usually done before the 12th of December, because we want to make sure everything worked out before we close down on the 15th.”
A family of three typically costs $300 to $350 to sponsor while a family of five would be in the range of $400 to $550, for example.
“We ask that sponsors provide gift cards for perishable food along with the food hampers, but if they are giving only gift cards then that would go through our donation department. We do not sponsor families with only gift cards,” Lester explained.
Often the sponsors also opt to provide gifts but that is not required, and the bureau does provide Christmas gifts for the children (birth to 18) of registered families.
“We have a whole toy department, and everybody’s given a date to come here and shop for toys for their family,” Lester noted.
Sponsorships allow donors to connect directly with the families being helped.
“It could be a club or a business or an individual family that wants to take on a sponsorship,” Lester said.
The need is up this year, with the bureau on track to have about 900 families registered for help. Information on donating to the Christmas bureau or sponsoring a family is available at langleychristmasbureau.com or by calling 604-530-3001. The website includes guidelines for hampers for those sponsoring families.
She’s not sure why sponsorship numbers are noticeably lower this holiday season.
“It could be the fact that we only got back into sponsorship last year… where we weren’t doing that at all [during the pandemic]. It could be that maybe it’s a financial burden, or maybe it’s just that people are donating other ways,” she said.
The community is being to invited sit down together for a meal on Wednesday, Nov. 29, with the return of the Christmas Wish Breakfast.
Between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. that day people are invited to stop by Newlands Golf and Country Club, 21025 48th Ave., for breakfast and much more, all for the cost of a donation to the Langley Christmas Bureau. Donations can be cash, gift cards suitable for children (from birth to age 18), or unwrapped gifts for teens, youth, and small children.
Local firefighters will be on hand to receive and sort the donations. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting, and there’s a long list of entertainers queued up to perform. The list includes the Langley Ukulele Ensemble, Langley Fine Arts, Langley Community Music School, the Langley Community Chorus, the Seabillies, and more.