Kim Snow believes in Santa Claus.
The salon owner and longtime Good Samaritan subscribes to the giving spirit, the selflessness that's attached to the iconic Christmas figure.
But for her, the season of giving is a 12month undertaking. Year round, she collects donations for the Langley's less fortunate.
"I get goose bumps," she said. "I get so much energy and joy out of helping others. I get excited from seeing what you can do to help others. That's my way of getting high, I guess. People always go, 'I don't know where you get your energy from, Kim.' Being able to help the less fortunate: that makes me happy."
She has lots of help. The merry band of volunteers she calls her "angels" sacrifice their time and efforts to help make the world a better place for the less fortunate.
On the weekend of Dec. 1-2 in front of the Murrayville IGA, Snow and her angels stood under a tarp in the pouring rain, collecting food, diapers, winter clothes, and cash donations benefiting Best Babies, Christian Life Assembly, Southgate Church, and students in School District 35.
"We were soaked, we were freezing, we were drenched," Snow said, with a laugh. "But we bought a tarp, we had the Christmas music going, and not one of us complained. We had a riot. It was so good to see all the generous and happy faces. It was freezing, but we made it work."
Snow said being out in elements is a stark reminder of some of the people she was helping.
"Can you imagine the people who are out in the cold and have no choice? That's why we do what we do," Snow said.
The annual "fill the ambulance" campaign succeeded in doing just that: filling an ambulance, one-and-a-half times, with donated items from passers-by.
The $2,100 raised from the two-day charity drive went towards buying additional baby food and diapers, pasta, sauces, toys, and fruits and vegetables.
Some of the money raised came from a senior who donated a coffee container full of pennies.
"That's all she was able to give," Snow related. "We all had tears in our eyes and we're so thankful for her donation. That's what giving is all about: if we all do our part this world would be a better place."
Volunteers included Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese, Walnut Grove Secondary vice principal Kathy Murdoch, paramedic Vince Ford, Steve Stew from B&B Contracting and his family, Township bylaw enforcement manager Bill Storie, firefighters, retired RCMP members, and a special appearance by Santa, himself.
"We all have full-time jobs but we all make the time to volunteer and help out," Snow said. "As my mom, God rest her soul, use to always say, 'It's the journey, not the destination,' so make the time to help or give something big or small. It all helps out."
Following the charity drive, for the fourth year, Snow and others delivered items to a local family that includes three young children.
Snow said just about everything in the family's house has been donated "by a lot of generous people," including couches, beds, food, clothes and toys.
"They are so thankful from having nothing, to now they have everything they need and a roof over their head," Snow said. "We have seen the change and that makes us angels - happy to know we are making a difference in people's lives."
The giving doesn't end after the campaign. Through Facebook and other forums/social media, Snow continues to field requests for items, and suggestions about families that she can help.
She is currently looking for a container or locker in which items can be stored after they've been donated.
"None of the organizations we help out have a storage area, so we end up missing out on a lot of stuff that's donated cause we have nowhere to store it," Snow said.
Anyone with toys, winter clothes, packages of diapers, or non-perishable food to donate, or anyone with a storage container or area that can be used, can email Snow at kimzangels@ hotmail.ca.
@ Copyright 2013