It was a happy coincidence that Benjamin Sibanda happened upon the Langley Christmas Bureau last year.
He was glad he did.
The married father of three teenagers didn’t initially intend to go to the Christmas Bureau for help but when he did, it was a rewarding experience, he said.
“We happened to be driving past and we noticed that there were vehicles going in and out of the facility where they were operating from,” Sibanda said.
He enquired, and was told he was at the Langley Christmas Bureau and that help was there for him and his family if they needed it.
“They told us about the documentation that needed to be brought in and we did that and they graciously helped us,” Sibanda said.
He described the experience of being helped by the bureau as “really incredible.”
“It’s not as if we were expecting to get anything,” said Sibanda, who noted that he and his family were going through a “terrible time” when they benefited from the bureau, and the generosity of Langley residents who contribute to the charity.
“I just had surgery, my tenure at work was quite precarious at the time because our funding was going to be withdrawn,” Sibanda shared.
The family didn’t have much money and Sibanda’s wife, despite having a masters of arts degree, hasn’t been able to find a job for the past three years.
“So when it becomes difficult for one person, it means the whole family actually gets to feel it,” Sibanda said.
His children didn’t even want to mention what they wanted for Christmas because they knew about their financial situation.
Thanks to the bureau, they were able to enjoy their Christmas.
“We were able to get some gift cards which the children used to buy whatever they needed, basically,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said it would have been a different kind of Christmas if not for the bureau but added that the “reality is, we were not expecting anything which was the beauty of it.”
He encourages anyone who is able, to volunteer for the bureau.
“Other than just giving back, I think there is the satisfaction that you are doing something that is meaningful, that benefits the community,” Sibanda said.