Aldergrove mother Brenda Nelson and her daughter, Chrystie McClurg, lead a group of ‘angels’ who gather up carloads of presents for 11 struggling families might need this Christmas – in memory of their sons, Coleton and Ryker. (Submitted photo)

Aldergrove mother Brenda Nelson and her daughter, Chrystie McClurg, lead a group of ‘angels’ who gather up carloads of presents for 11 struggling families might need this Christmas – in memory of their sons, Coleton and Ryker. (Submitted photo)

Aldergrove’s Christmas ‘angels’ surprise 11 families with carloads of gifts

Mom Brenda Nelson and daughter Chrystie pour out their love, in memory of their sons

In the spirit of her late son Coleton Nelson and grandson Ryker McClurg, Brenda Nelson and her daughter Chrystie have stepped forth to ease the lives of struggling families.

“We sponsor a minimum 10 families every year,” Brenda said, “because the number 10 was Coleton’s favourite number.”

This year, 11 families from Abbotsford’s Christmas bureau have been assigned to Coleton’s Clause and Ryker’s Reindeer memorial fundraisers, made up of Brenda’s family, friends, and even neighbours in Aldergrove.

And what they do goes way beyond giving out Christmas hampers, Brenda clarified.

“It’s a carload of everything they want for Christmas and everything they could need for the next three months,” she explained, including food, winter clothing, toiletries, and even housewares.

“Anything they need to get by at home, and anything on the kid’s wish list – you name it, they get it.”

One of the families that remain near and dear to Brenda’s heart was that of a father battling terminal cancer three years ago.

After enjoying a Christmas stocked full of everything his family could have ever hoped for, the father passed away the next day.

“It was almost like he was waiting to see his family get help and be okay before he died,” Brenda explained.

His mother dubbed the group angels, saying that they came at just the right moment, when they thought they wouldn’t be able to survive the holidays.

“We take care of everything because we want them to not have to worry for a very long time” and focus their efforts on other things, like securing a job or recovering from an illness, if necessary, Brenda said.

On Sunday, a few days before Christmas, her trusty team of volunteers loaded up their vehicles with gifts and necessities and convoyed their carloads – including $200 worth of vegetables and perishable meal items for each family – to the 11 houses to be showered with gifts.

The group carried the hauls into each house, to the astonishment of many of the families.

“Most of them are absolutely overwhelmed. Half of them are crying. It’s a state of disbelief they are in,” Brenda elaborated.

RELATED: Coleton Nelson ‘lives on’ at the Aldergrove arena

“We come in with one box and they are happy and then we say: ‘Oh, we’re not done yet.’

“Ten loads later, and we’re all hugging,” she recalled.

“Doing this is my Christmas presents. It’s what I really get excited about every year,” Brenda added.

When asked why she doesn’t spread the initiative wider by giving less to more families, Brenda is adamant that she wants to “spoil each child” as if they were her own.

“My children got spoiled. Why not theirs?”

The mother insisted she’d “rather help 10 families for three months, than 20 families for three days.”

“Our goal is to help them get out of that rut,” Brenda explained, adding that the group does not sponsor the same family twice.

READ MORE: Aldergrove minor hockey goes all out for good causes

Initially, it was the intense loss the mother felt during her first Christmas without her 12-year-old son Coleton after he was killed in a car accident in 2011, that inspired her to pour out her maternal love unto others.

For her daughter Chrystie, who lost her son Ryker from an illness five years after her brother, the giving has been therapeutic.

Together, in the seven years since Brenda first spearheaded the initiative, the mom and daughter estimate having helped nearly 80 families of Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack.

Just this month, several from the group took it upon themselves to go carolling ‘round the streets of Aldergrove to drum up more support for the families.

After serenading 15 houses, the team raised $160 dollars in donations, which they dispersed among the families.

The group hosts yearly fundraisers to keep up with the costs of their giving, totalling over $10,000 total this year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Aldergrove’s Christmas ‘angels’ surprise 11 families with carloads of gifts

Aldergrove’s Christmas ‘angels’ surprise 11 families with carloads of gifts

Aldergrove’s Christmas ‘angels’ surprise 11 families with carloads of gifts

Aldergrove’s Christmas ‘angels’ surprise 11 families with carloads of gifts

Just Posted

Jaden Lipinski has signed to the Langley-based Vancouver Giants, and is expected to start next season. (Lipinski Family/Special to Black Press Media)
Arizona forward joins Vancouver Giants ranks

A young scorer out of Scottsdale was signed to start playing in the 2021-22 season

Langley Township is planning to construct a multi-use arts and cultural centre in Fort Langley. (Langley Township graphic)
Wanna buy a piece of Langley history? Museum naming rights up for grabs

Township opens up sponsorship for new Salishan Place by the River history, arts and culture centre

Vancouver Giants goalie Trent Miner saw his lengthy shutout streak in the net come to an end in a 6-3 loss against Prince George on Saturday, April 10. (Allen Douglas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Giants winning streak snapped by Prince George Cougars in 6-3 loss

The game also marked the end of a franchise-record shutout streak by goalie Trent Miner

Crews were called to a house fire in Langley at 30th Avenue and 240th Street on Friday, April 2, 2021. It was reported around 3 a.m by a local firefighter who was driving to the scene of a motor vehicle crash. (Andy Hewitson/Special to Langley Advance Times)
‘Windows from the house were blown clear’: Langley firefighter

Investigators have yet to confirm cause of April 2 fire in rural area

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 11

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read