Santa Cause needs helpers in Whalley Christmas Day

Erica Beckstead, team leader of The Whalley Santa Cause, is reaching out for donations in advance of the Dec. 25 event.

Do you want to play Santa this Christmas in Surrey?

Erica Beckstead, team leader of The Whalley Santa Cause, is reaching out for donations in advance of the Dec. 25 event.

Volunteers are also invited to distribute gifts and personal care items (travel-size soaps and shampoos, along with toothbrushes and toothpaste and other small items, including candy) in person.

“Four years ago while traveling for work I started accumulating so many hotel soaps and shampoos that I had more than any one person should,” she says, explaining the bounty inspired her to come up with a plan to distribute the items as gifts to homeless people in the Whalley area on Christmas Day.

That first year, she made 50 hampers full of trial-sized soaps and shampoos. Then on Christmas Day, she and a friend, plus two volunteers recruited from Craigslist “marched the sad and lonely streets of the Whalley strip, handing them out to addicts and people lying on the street.”

In 2012, her donations doubled, enabling her to make up 100 hampers. She was joined by 16 volunteers. “I was overwhelmed that this was the start of something,” she says.

Last year, she made 250 hampers and was joined by 55 volunteers to hand them out. TV personality Ronnie Negus of the Real Housewives of Vancouver helped with donations.

The 4th Annual Whalley Santa Claus meeting spot for volunteers is Gateway Station at 1 p.m. Dec. 25 by the taxis.

“I hope to see some new faces this year,” she says. “Donations are great, too.” For more on how to help, visit facebook.com/whalleysantacause.

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