All new toys and gifts can be dropped off at the bureau

Early deadline poses problem for Langley Christmas Bureau

All toys, gifts, and food hampers must be out by Dec. 14, and organizers are hopeful the community can come through early.

An influx of Syrian refugees to Langley, and the fact that school gets out earlier than normal for Christmas break, will make it even harder than normal for Langley Christmas Bureau elves to make the season bright for all the families in need this December.

When school gets out early, the deadline to distribute all the toys, gifts, and food to families in need in Langley gets pushed forward, too, explained Velma MacAllister, the bureau’s new office manager.

With school letting out Dec. 16, that means organizers of the Langley Christmas Bureau only have 18 more days – weekends included – to make Christmas possible for an estimated 800 families in need this holiday season, she said.

“And we need help,” MacAllister said.

Sadly, in early- to mid-December, many people still haven’t had much chance to wrap their heads around everything Christmas, let alone finalized their plans to sponsor a family or donate toys, gifts, or cash to the Christmas bureau.

That means MacAllister, toy depot coordinator Donalda Whaites, and all the other seasonal volunteers need to ramp up their efforts.

There’s a concentrated effort to get the word out, to collect toys and gifts sooner, to get sponsors signed up faster, and to collect all the donations as soon as possible.

Another hurdle this year is the types of families expecting to turn to the bureau for help.

Like the Korean and Karen families in need, there are now an unknown number of new Syrian refugee families expected to turn to the bureau for help this year. And they cannot be sponsored, in large part because of dietary requirements and language barriers, MacAllister explained.

Working through the Immigrant Service Society, they’ve already been registering some of the families, but McAllister said she has no idea what kind of numbers they should expect.

“I wouldn’t even hazard a guess. I could say 25, but it could be closer to 100. I have no idea,” she added.

What she does now, MacAllister said, is that it means the bureau must take care of them, meaning they’ll need more financial support this year – in a shorter period of time.

Whaites weighed in, too. She noted that the Syrian families tend to have more children per family than the average Canadian household. That translates to the need for more toys and gifts for older children, as well.

Speaking of gifts, she said they’re usually set for gifts for younger children. The need, consistently, is for new toys and gifts for children ages nine to 15.

Whaites knows the workload for the bureau volunteers is greater this year, and the demand is likely to be much larger than ever before. But she remains optimistic it can be accomplished.

“The community here is always so incredibly generous,” she said. “Together, we can make Christmas possible for every family in Langley with children.”

How to help

The Langley Christmas Bureau is set up in the former legion building at 20702 Eastleigh Cres.

Registration has been ongoing since Nov. 1, and donations can be dropped off at the office or at the bureau toy drop in Willowbrook Shopping Centre between Dec. 2 and 12.

Donations and sponsor registration can also be made online: www.langleychristmasbureau.com.

Just Posted

WATCH: Langley art beneath the vines helps hospice

West Coast Fine Arts late summer show enjoyed natural light in a winery’s greenhouse.

Langley health fair aimed at newcomers to the community

An LCSS event combined fun for kids with information on health services.

Election signs trashed on Langley’s 208th Street

Someone apparently knocked down a block of signs in Willoughby.

VIDEO: Cedar Rim Nursery celebrates 40th anniversary

The celebration created a buzz at the nursery with local vendors, tours and a kids zone

Car crash, wires down cause power failures in Langley

Hundreds of people spent some time in the dark Friday and Saturday.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read