Christmas is a time for joy and giving, but for some, giving isn’t as easy as they would like.
One Langley resident, Kari Polanski, is happy to be part of a community that works together to make things better for others
Polanski’s start in the Lower Mainland wasn’t good. She’d moved from Manitoba only to find she’d been a victim of a residential tenancy scam. The individual posing as a landlord took her deposit, leaving Polanski without a place to live and unable to take her job transfer or start school at Blanche Macdonald.
That was 2009. She had to move in with her aunt.
A few years later, she became pregnant with her daughter who was born on Dec. 23, 2012.
“That is my present,” she said of her daughter. “She came out talking, singing, and dancing and she hasn’t stopped ever since. She is so bright.”
But the living situation was far from ideal. As Polanski described it, their home was a shoebox of a suite.
“I had to wait until Madison was born to officially go on with that,” she said of the BC Housing program.
They eventually moved to Murrayville into “a place for low-income families.”
As a makeup artist for more than 18 years, and a lash tech, Polanski is working to get her own business up and running.
But until she can ensure she and Madison have all their needs fully met, Polanski is grateful for help from organizations such as the Langley Christmas Bureau.
“I learned about the Christmas bureau as I was going through the food bank, so not last year, but the year before,” she said. “I learned that there was a program in place.”
She registered then (2015), as well as last year and this year.
“Through the support and help of the community, I can say [Madison] wants for nothing,” Mom said.
Last year Madison received a special doll house donated by a Langley lawyer’s office.
“Through the Christmas Bureau, Donalda – one of the workers; she’s so lovely – she’d set aside a doll house for Madison,” said Polanski. “That was beautiful.”
This year’s inaugural Children’s Wish Breakfast will go a step further towards supporting families, like Polanski and Madison.
Newlands Golf and Country Club will host the new event on Tuesday, Nov. 28, offering a free breakfast to anyone who comes between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. with a new, unwrapped toy.
Langley Christmas Bureau toy depot coordinator Donalda Whaites thanks the many volunteers from the community that make events like this possible along with the wide range of other tasks necessary to make Christmas merry and bright for as many Langley families as possible.
Langley City fire rescue service and Langley RCMP will receive the toys at Newlands on behalf of the Christmas bureau, as well as guiding traffic during the event. Toys for all ages are welcome as are cash donations and gift cards. For more details about what to donate, contact Whaites at 604-530-3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Polanski, the bureau – and events like the new community breakfast – make her want to give back.
“It’s so incredibly touching. It’s so giving and thoughtful,” she said.
“When you think about people giving back and especially at Christmas, it warms the cockles of your heart. It’s a humbling experience. That’s the part that makes me glow. That makes me feel warm, and it’s comforting knowing that my family will be taken care of.”
She wants donors to know that they are the “salt of the earth” and that their generosity doesn’t go unnoticed.