A crowd of people line up for registration at the Surrey Christmas Bureau in North Surrey on Thursday morning.

Surrey Christmas Bureau settles in to its new location

Annual holiday charity now registering clients, collecting donations.

Four volunteers sit at the end of supermarket cash lanes interviewing applicants. But the tills are silent as the room around them buzzes.

This is no ordinary supermarket, and the customers are not there to check out food – at least not directly.

The hub of activity is at the former site of the Buy Rite grocery store in the Dell Shopping Centre, where people are now registering for the 2013 Surrey Christmas Bureau (SCB).

In the ever-changing interior of this year’s location, checkout aisles are the only original structure left.

Thanks to a team of busy volunteers the area is transforming, but the shelves where families will do their toy shopping remain empty.

“In about a week… it’ll look different again,” says K.C. Gilroy, program coordinator. “We’ll have baby items here, toddler items here, there’ll be pyjamas piled there.

“It’ll be a whole different world.”

The site for the SCB came later than usual this year and took some intense some searching, says Gilroy. Every year the loction has changed because it’s difficult to find a large space with a short lease that fits the bureau’s needs.

After passing on othCaroline Quinonezer properties that didn’t fit the organization’s requirements, Bosa Properties came to the SCB’s aide, offering the current site at a reduced lease rate.

The central locale is a bonus, says Gilroy, adding that North Surrey is home to a large proportion of the SCB’s lower-income clients.

One of those residents, Wendy Hernandez, waited in the early morning cold Thursday with her friend Caroline Quinonez (left) in a line-up of about 40 applicants. Some in line had stood outside the SCB for almost an hour to get a number.

“We don’t have money for buying our kids presents,” explains Hernandez stepping inside to warm up. “Everything is expensive and we have three children.”

Hernandez and Quinonez are participating in the program for the second year. Both are grateful for the help and say it made their last Christmas a happy one.

Last year Quinonez participated in the Adopt-a-Family program that matches sponsor families with those in need.

Her six-month-old son, Alan, sits quietly bundled in his stroller. It will be his first Christmas this December, and Quinonez is hoping to be matched a sponsor again this year.

The organization distributes toys and gift cards for groceries to hundreds of low-income families each year. More than 1,800 families are expected this holiday season.

Anyone able to help is asked to call 604-581-9623.

 

How to help and register

The long-running Surrey Christmas Bureau (SCB) is a non-profit organization that supplies gifts and grocery cards for low-income families in the city.

Donors:

• The SCB accepts donations of new toys and cash all year, and are particularly in need of gifts for teens. Cash donations will be matched by Gord Bylo and iFund Lending up to $15,000.

• For toy pick-up, call 604-581-9623.

• If you would like to sponsor a family, please contact the Adopt-a-Family program at 604-585-9670.

Applicants:

• This year’s SCB is open for registration for families with a child or children age 18 or under, until Nov. 30, Monday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• The SCB is located at the former Buy Rite building in the Dell Shopping Centre at 10636 King George Blvd.

• For more information, including what documents to bring in order to qualify, call 604-581-9623 or visit the SCB website: christmasbureau.com

 

Just Posted

Two Surrey men wanted on human trafficking-related charges in Ontario

London Police Service say the men should be considered armed and dangerous

Northern California man charged with aiding fugitive Brandon Teixeira

Sam Koh, 40, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to harbouring Teixeira

‘Moving month’ for streaking White Rock Whalers

Junior ‘B’ hockey team has wins in seven of last 11 PJHL games

South Surrey couple donates $1M to hospital’s children’s centre campaign

Donation brings hospital foundation’s fundraising goal within $1 million

The Surrey Hospice Society’s Toolbox thrift store reopens in Cloverdale

Before she fell ill, Janet Child revamped second-hand tool store

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read