The big red bin in the Willowbrook Mall says TOYS in huge letters, but the Langley Christmas Bureau is hoping to fill it with much more.
The bureau’s volunteers began their Christmas blitz on Nov. 26 to collect cash, gift cards, clothing, baby supplies, and toys for kids from infants to teens.
They’ll be wrapping up the annual toy and gift drive on Dec. 13. After that, they have to put together the hampers they send out to hundreds of needy families in the Langleys, said organizer Sylvia Anderson.
“That’s the week that the gifts are distributed to families,” Anderson said.
On Black Friday, with the mall quite busy for a weekday morning, several people stopped by with gifts – a woman dropped off makeup kits for teenaged girls, a mother and her daughter brought a toy for a three-year-old, and a man pulled out his chequebook to make a donation on the spot.
Some recipients are harder to collect toys for than others.
“Usually teenagers are the most difficult,” said Anderson.
The bureau’s volunteers will recommend gifts if the giver isn’t certain what to bring.
The Christmas Bureau’s drop off system is simple.
• Gifts should be unwrapped
• No stuffed toys, dolls, or clothing (other than baby clothing)
• Cash and cheque donations are gratefully accepted and go a long way; receipts will be given for anything over $20.
Once a gift has been dropped off, a donor can hang a star on the Christmas tree.
The number of families that will be helped this year is uncertain. Anderson notes that last year it was more than 700.
This year, they’re preparing for as many people as need their help to give their families a proper holiday. Although Syrian refugees aren’t expected in Langley in any significant numbers this year, the Bureau will be prepared to help out if there are.
Gifts can be dropped off at the mall, and during weekday business hours at the Langley Advance at 6375 202nd St., and at the Christmas Bureau’s headquarters at 19638 Fraser Hwy.