Thanks to a year-long fundraising effort by the Langley Literacy Association, more than 1,500 local children will be gifted new books this Christmas.
The literacy organization has been providing kids registered with the Langley Christmas Bureau a new book through its Wrap-A-Read program for about 15 years, according to Kailey Clarkson, a literacy outreach coordinator with the association.
“It’s not just a gift or item that someone is getting, it’s a memory and an experience that they’re going to have with their kids,” she said. “To help develop that literacy at home, that bond, it’s a real privilege.”
Each year, the organization aims to raise about $11,000 to support the program. Then, in December, the group purchases the necessary books at a 40 per cent discount from United Library Services.
“We work with Fraser Valley Regional Library to buy the books, and they’re an instrumental partner in this because they know all of the books to buy, they know what’s popular and what’s out there,” Clarkson explained.
Volunteers with the literacy group will be at the Langley Christmas Bureau during its annual three-day toy distribution days – which run from Dec. 16 to 18 – where registered families will visit the bureau and shop for their children.
“So many of the families, when they receive the books, are so excited,” said Clarkson. “Parents are really excited to be able to pick books for their kids, and they put a lot of time and thought into picking the right book.”
Last year, Clarkson estimated, the organization gave away nearly 2,000 books to about 1,600 Langley children, and she expects similar numbers this year.
“We had a lot of community support this year with fundraising and volunteering, so we’re in a really good position,” she added.
The organization welcomes donations throughout the year. Monetary donations are preferred because the organization can allocate the funds where needed, Clarkson explained.
This year’s volunteer roster is full, but those interested in getting involved in next year’s program can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Willowbrook Gifts for Kids tree
Long-time shoppers at Willowbrook Shopping Centre may have noticed something missing from the mall during the holiday season.
The Gifts for Kids Tree is not at the mall, again this year.
In past, the tree served as a drop-off location for donations in support of the Langley Christmas Bureau.
Due to construction last year, the Christmas bureau only had a donation bin set-up in the mall. This year, due to scheduling issues, the local charity does not have any presence at the shopping centre.
Those looking to donate can still do so directly at the Christmas bureau (120-19860 Langley Bypass), located next to buybuy BABY and Bed, Bath & Beyond in Langley.
“That’s where they have to go now. That’s the only place they take gifts and money,” said Sylvia Anderson, a volunteer at the Christmas bureau.
Langley Christmas Bureau will close for the season on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.