Vy Pham, a Fraser Heights Secondary graduate, and Anson Chung, a Grade 10 student, work on one of the rocking moose in the school’s wood shop Thursday, Dec. 5. They handmade toys are for the Surrey Christmas Bureau. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Fraser Heights

‘A labour of love’: High school turns into ‘toy shop’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau

Fraser Heights Secondary has been making toys for the non-profit for more than a decade

The elves were busy in their Surrey “toy shop,” putting together the finishing touches on their latest batch of toys.

For 17 years, Fraser Heights Secondary School’s wood shop has turned into its own toy shop to help out the Surrey Christmas Bureau, building rocking airplanes, dinosaurs and moose.

Shop teacher Martin Lim said the initiative started years ago when the school did a trip to Tijuana, Mexico to build a house for a family.

“(We) came back here and thought, what can we do for our local community as well, and folks in need,” Lim said.

When they started all those years ago, Lim said, it was just rocking airplanes – and only 10 of them

“Over the years, it’s expanded to 60 units now; planes, dinos and moose.”

Chris Mills, a tech ed teacher, said the whole process starts in early November as they gather up the materials and volunteers.

“We do a lot of prep work during the day with students to get all the pieces ready for the night crew that comes and does all the various jobs that are needed,” said Mills, adding that it takes about three to three-and-a-half weeks total.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth it… We put a lot of hours in but it’s nice to see it once we get to the bureau and the parents’ eyes light up when they get to see these big shiny toys that they may be able to deliver to the Christmas tree come Christmas morning.”

On hand Thursday (Dec. 5) was Fraser Heights 2017 graduate Vy Pham, who took shop all throughout high school.

“They introduced me to the Christmas bureau my first year, so Grade 8. I got really close to the teachers, so I always came back and helped,” said Pham, adding that the shop teachers, Lim and Mills, are like family to her now.

“Every time it happens, they just shoot me a text and I just come right out.”

It was two years ago that Pham got the opportunity to drop off the toys to the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

“We drove out, we unloaded the truck with all the toys in it and it was very, very nice to see. I saw a lot of the things that people were donating. It feels good to know that someone who maybe wasn’t as fortunate as the rest of us gets to wake up and have something new in their life,” she said.

Asked why she keeps coming back to help, Pham said part of it is the people.

“They’re always smiling. You don’t come here and see someone angry painting, everyone’s just happy and they volunteer their time to come out. It’s very nice to see that.”

As for the Christmas bureau, Tony Miles said that year after year, the volunteers are helping to making families in Surrey “have a really great Christmas.”

Miles, who is on the bureau’s board of directors, said it’s impressive to see all the work that goes into the toys.

“When you see it put together, it looks pretty straightforward, but there’s a lot of moving parts here. Just to get it prepped with the paint and getting it cut… It’s really a labour of love for these people, I can tell.”

But for the families, Miles said the toys mean a great deal.

“I think that because these items are so colourful, parents are immediately drawn to it. I’ve said to a few people that I think that for a lot of families, these become heirlooms. They’re really well made and there’s something that families will remember for a long time.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chris Mills, a teacher at Fraser Heights Secondary, works on one of the rocking moose in the school’s wood shop Thursday, Dec. 5. They handmade toys are for the Surrey Christmas Bureau. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Just Posted

Surrey’s Boze Corn Maze set to open with one big ‘50’ in the design

This year’s maze has some ‘social-distancing bubbles’ built into it, says farmer Mike Bose

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta police investigating shots fired in Tsawwassen

No injuries reported after police called to Parkrove Crescent Sunday afternoon (Aug. 9)

South Surrey teen launches non-profit to open opportunities for debate

Lucinda Gullison says the art of debate has many benefits

South Surrey boy’s lemonade stand raises $670 for baby Lucy on BC Day weekend

Zach Young, 6, wanted to help with purchase of Vancouver infant’s costly drug ‘to help her get better’

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

The Governor General is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister

Second phase of NHL draft lottery set for Monday

Each club eliminated from qualifying round has a 12.5 per cent shot at the No. 1 pick

University of Victoria, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Most Read