Lisa Werring, Surrey Christmas Bureau executive director, stands in front of the bureau’s 2018 location at the former Stardust skating rink in Whalley where they are returning for the 2019 holiday season. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Lisa Werring, Surrey Christmas Bureau executive director, stands in front of the bureau’s 2018 location at the former Stardust skating rink in Whalley where they are returning for the 2019 holiday season. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

City Centre

Surrey Christmas Bureau returns to old Stardust building for the holidays this year

Last year, the charity served a record-breaking 2,007 families including 4,449 children

It’s only early October but a small army of volunteers is already gearing up to make Christmas happen for thousands of children across Surrey.

This year, the Surrey Christmas Bureau is returning to the old Stardust building for the second year in a row.

Usually, the charity has to issue a public appeal for leads to find a building to operate out of for the season.

“I’m not calling early this year to beg for space,” laughed Lisa Werring, executive director of Surrey Christmas Bureau.

Though a chilly building, Werring said this year’s venue is arguably the best location the charity has ever had both in terms of visibility for the public and ease of access for clients.

“Last year we had folks running to catch the train, or running over to the mall to buy toys for us. It’s getting really hard in Surrey to find these locations,” she said. “And this will be the last year here. I hear the building’s coming down soon after, unfortunately.”

“It’ll be the building’s last hurrah.”

Werring thanked the “generous donors” who provided the building, WestStone Group and CIBT.

“We are so grateful for their support again this year,” she said. “They are true community leaders.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Behind the scenes look at the Surrey Christmas Bureau

Last year the bureau helped 2,007 families which included 4,449 children, said Werring.

“That broke our records, as we expected,” she told the Now-Leader. “We were expecting over 2,000 families, and we anticipate that to go up again this year. It seems to go up roughly 10 per cent year over year, which is kind of equivalent to the number of families coming into Surrey.”

The Christmas bureau’s clientele come from all over Surrey, Werring explained.

“A lot of folks think our clients will be from lower economic demographic areas, but Surrey is an interesting city. Even in perhaps more affluent neighbourhoods that have one or two basement suites in them, the economics of families in suites are quite different than the folks upstairs.”

The ethnic makeup of clients is also diverse, she said, praising the Muslim Food Bank for its efforts in helping with Arabic language translation for clients who need it.

Registration for those needing support this Christmas is set to begin at the 2019 toy depot, at 10240 City Pkwy., starting Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m.

After that, they’ll be open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for registrations, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for toy drop offs and donations.

Werring is urging registrants not to come in the early morning hours to register, as in year’s past, clients have arrived as early as 5 a.m. to ensure they get their foot in the door.

“We don’t like people to stand in the rain,” said Werring. “I think everybody thinks if they get there the first day, they have to get there right away to register. We’re there for the entire month of November and into December for registrations. People will do it – but it breaks my heart to see people standing in the rain and freezing in the cold.”

As the holiday season approaches, the Surrey Food Bank and Surrey Christmas Bureau are joining forces in holding a “Harnessing Hope” fundraiser, an evening at the races at Elements Casino. It’s set for 5 p.m. Oct. 17 and the event will include a live and silent auction. Tickets are on sale at the Surrey Food Bank’s Facebook page for $40.

“We serve the same clients,” said Werring of the two charities. “The folks who go to the food bank are the same clients who come to us at Christmas, so it makes sense to work together.”

The charities previously teamed up for a “Christmas in July” event at Guildford Town Centre, and decided to do so again.

“We’re hoping to have a really fun night, we have some really cool auction items,” she said.

“We have a Santa who will be auctioning himself off,” Werring added with a laugh, explaining the winner will be able to have Santa at their event or party.

Food bank executive director Feezah Jaffer said “we thought this would be a wonderful thing to do to raise awareness that both our clientele need support all year round, not just at the holiday season.”

Donations to both charities can be made online, at surreyfoodbank.com and christmasbureau.com.

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

Just Posted

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read