Christmas Bureau a Langley tradition

Year after year the Langley Christmas Bureau amasses gifts, books, and toys to ensure thousands of local children can enjoy the season of giving.

Last year the bureau helped 803 families and 1,650 children.

The bureau has been around so long, it’s become a local holiday tradition. Families make supporting the Langley Christmas Bureau part of their holidays by stopping by Gifts for Kids, a booth set up in the mall.

“We have second and third generations coming,” said Castron.

For years the Christmas bureau has set up a booth at Willowbrook Shopping Centre.

The campaign starts Nov. 30 and wraps up Dec. 14.

Gifts for Kids provides people an easy way to contribute. People can bring new, unwrapped gifts to the booth (near the Purdy’s) or make a financial donation which can be used to purchase gifts for hard-to-buy-for ages.

“We get a huge amount of toys there,” explained co-chair Jim McGregor.

The toys and donations are gathered and taken to the bureau office.

“At the end, they’re going twice a day” to load up donations, Castron noted.

A key facet is the volunteers at Gifts for Kids. They are able to help the public with their gift choices and tell which age/gender combinations are needed most. Items for boys ages 10-13 are the most needed followed by teens.

Each year the bureau asks that stuffed toys and Barbies not be donated but they come in by the load. That’s why volunteer Donalda Whaites tracks gifts to ensure the right mix for the families that are registered so the bureau never has to tell a family it doesn’t have anything to offer for a given child.

Various community efforts are held each year to bring in donations for the Christmas bureau.

And coming up is another example. Forever Yours Lingerie is hosting Christmas Sizzle, a fashion show fundraiser on Nov. 20 at the store, 20460 Fraser Hwy. The doors open at 6:15 with a show at 7 p.m. There’s special discounts, raffles and more. Tickets are $20 and 100 per cent goes to the Christmas bureau. As well, people who bring unwrapped gifts for children receive an extra door prize ticket. The event is for those 19 and older. Learn more and arrange for tickets through http://foreveryourslingerie.ca.

People can also go to the bureau office to make contributions. This year the Langley Christmas Bureau has moved to 20300 Fraser Hwy.

There’s also online giving. People, families, businesses or other groups can sign up to sponsor a family. They are then given basic details about the ages and genders of the children for gift buying. Complete details about the various forms of support as well as how to apply to receive help from the Christmas bureau are online or available at the office.

The bureau also receives toys through the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau and receives about $20,000 from the Empty Stocking Fund.

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