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

 

Just Posted

Eight Township firefighters exposed to COVID-19 now back at work

None of them tested positive for the virus, confirms EOC information officer Steven Scheepmaker

Aldergrove senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Strong home sales in early March plunged as virus hit

Sales were trending upwards before physical isolation began

Sources B.C. offers Langley residents ‘one-time crisis loans’ to help pay rent

Individual low income earners could receive a loan for up to $1,200 and $1,600 for a family

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Abbotsford man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife and throws it at victim, but is quickly arrested by police

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

Most Read