The Surrey Christmas Bureau is noticing “quite a shortfall” in toy donations this holiday.
At the same time, they’re seeing a huge number of children who need help, said bureau boss Lisa Werring.
While the number of families needing help this Christmas is about the same as last year, there are “a number of large families in crisis with six-plus kids,” she noted.
“So a lot of large families are in crisis and need our help, which is really impacting our inventory, of course,” said Werring. “It’s not just refugee families, but large families across the board struggling to make ends meet in the Lower Mainland.”
Werring said toys are urgently needed for boys and girls ages 10 to 12, as well as teenagers.
“It’s odd for us to see such a drop in the 10 to 12 age range,” she added.
Werring surveyed some Surrey students, as well as girl guide and scout troupes, and has compiled a list of desired items.
For those aged 10 to 12, gift ideas include Shopkins and Num Noms toys, Hatchimals, LOL Surprise toys, arts and craft supplies, jewelry-making kits, remote control cars, nerf blasters, science kits, microscopes, telescopes and walkie talkies.
For teens, the bureau is looking for hair appliances such as blow dryers and straighteners, shavers, hair-cutting kits, skate boards, head phones, video games and gift certificates for all kinds of activities, including movies, yoga studios, hair salons, coffee shops and of course, mall gift cards.
Tickets to sports games or concerts are also sought, said Werring.
“Last year, the bureau helped just under 2,000 families last year, and that included more than 4,000 children,” she said. “All of that is done with the help of about 125 volunteers that work very hard during those months at our toy depot. Think about the impact it has on a child if they don’t have a Christmas. If it was 4,000 kids who didn’t have a Christmas? It’s astonishing to think that could happen and we’re happy to be in a position to help make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Gifts or monetary donations can be dropped off at the bureau’s toy depot at 6878 King George Blvd., and toys can be donated at any Surrey fire hall.