Patty Lester, Langley Christmas Bureau coordinator, overlooked the main gift sorting area set up in the foyer of Langley City hall. This year, the bureau was short of family sponsors, at a time when demand was high. But when the plea went out earlier this month, the community – like it does – stepped up. (Langley Advance Times files)

Patty Lester, Langley Christmas Bureau coordinator, overlooked the main gift sorting area set up in the foyer of Langley City hall. This year, the bureau was short of family sponsors, at a time when demand was high. But when the plea went out earlier this month, the community – like it does – stepped up. (Langley Advance Times files)

IN OUR VIEW: A community that cares all year round

This season highlights the best of Langley – it’s people

It’s fitting that December’s Christmas meeting is when the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce gives out the H.D. Stafford Citizen of the Year Award.

Every year it goes to someone who has put in time and effort on behalf of their community. This year, it was Kathy Derksen, longtime board chair and volunteer with the Langley Hospice Society, who has overseen their expansion from a tiny group to the opening this past spring of a freestanding residence for end-of-life care.

People like Derksen exemplify what Langley is capable of as a community.

Every year, the volunteer who has put in countless hours is called up to the podium, and every year, they say that there are so many other people who deserve to be there accepting the award, so many people who put in their own time and effort.

Langley, like the rest of Canada, has faced a lot of tough problems during the last decade. Aside from a worldwide pandemic, we’ve seen a crisis of homelessness, and another crisis of overdoses. We’re worried about the environment and our local farmers, buffeted by heat waves and extreme cold. We’ve got too many people who are economically squeezed and having trouble both paying rent and putting food on the table.

But Langley residents are good at stepping up to help.

Whether it’s a potential flood or a food drive, you can be sure that people will be there to help out. Langley has a host of groups, from large and well-funded non-profits, to faith-based groups, to small clubs, youth organizations, and ad hoc gatherings, that can tackle a challenge.

This holiday season, people are helping out all the more, donating, volunteering, giving out toys and warm clothes.

This is no mere holiday spirit. It will continue through the year here in Langley.

– M.C.

READ ALSO: IN OUR VIEW: Please buy a snow shovel, and use it

RELATED: IN OUR VIEW: We have food banks because the government has failed

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Is there more to the story? Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

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