With at least 80 families registering with the Surrey Christmas Bureau each day, the charity's big push is to collect enough gifts to meet the need.
In particular, said coordinator KC Gilroy, they're short of gifts for babies and teens - two groups of children who are often overlooked.
As of the end of last week, the Surrey Christmas Bureau had already registered more than 1,000 families, with a minimum of 1,800 expected in total.
Gilroy said they might pass the 2,000-family mark this year.
That creates a real need for sponsors to sign up for the Adopt-A-Family program. This is where an individual, group or business offers to provide a hamper for a specific family.
"A sponsor should expect to spend at a minimum $50 per person in the family," said Gilroy. A hamper includes food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family, age-appropriate gifts for each of the children plus a filled stocking for each.
In years past, only about one-third of the registered families were sponsored through the hamper program, and so they scramble to gather enough toys, clothes, stocking stuffers and other items for the rest.
Gilroy said the bureau is quite lucky to have a donated space this year, at 7404 King George Blvd., but having to find a new location every year is a challenge in and of itself.
"We're always just one step ahead of the bulldozer," she said. With Surrey growing at such a rapid rate, there are fewer usable warehouse spaces available each year, and more families that fall well under the poverty line and, therefore, become eligible for Christmas bureau support.
Gilroy, the only paid staff member of the Surrey charity, noted another interesting trend.
"You can track the global strife by who signs up," she said. People fleeing violent conflict or persecution in their home countries often end up in Surrey, as one of the relatively affordable corners of the Lower Mainland, and often they've had to leave everything behind to come here.
For those who want to help out, Gilroy said they currently have a full slate of volunteers, but desperately need donations. For teens, ideal gifts include sporting equipment, gift cards, CDs, toiletries and makeup. Other requested items include bicycles (for various age groups), baby clothes, stocking stuffer items, wrapping paper and baby clothes - especially for newborn to age three.
Another way to lend a hand is to join one of the fundraisers that benefit the bureau.
The biggest is a donation-matching program through iFundLending.
The company, owned by Gord Bylo, has put up $10,000 with a challenge to individuals and businesses to make a donation, to be matched from the fund.
All donations are welcome - from $10 to $10,000 - that it will match. Every donation gets a tax receipt for the full amount from the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
Bylo wants to raise $20,000-plus before the Dec. 12 deadline.
The Surrey Christmas Bureau is a great charity, he said, particularly for ensuring 96 per cent of donations go directly to its recipients.
This fundraising drive - in its fourth year - is also the largest by iFundLending, with a total of $90,000 donated in total.
"The reason I do it is because I've been fortunate enough with my kids that every Christmas morning since they were born they woke up and there were presents under the tree and we were able to afford to be able to cook a turkey and so on and I can't imagine what it would be like not being able to do that on Christmas," said Bylo.
"I don't have to see the kids to know that they're smiling."
Bylo said he knows the need is everywhere. "There's a lot of people hurting" right now.
And because of that, "I'm challenging other individuals and business owners to chip in. They can go to the site we've created just for this, ifundChristmas.ca, and they're able to donate and learn about the matching program."
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