SURREY — The inaugural “Christmas in July” event at Guildford Town Centre last weekend is being hailed a success, after raising thousands of dollars in donations and 300 pounds of food.
The Surrey Christmas Bureau and Surrey Food Bank joined forces to hold the fundraiser, on July 28 and 29, which featured a “Summer Santa,” dancing, a sand sculpture artist and more.
Donations of non-perishable food items and toys collected at the event helped create a Christmas Tree out of canned goods, with toys surrounding it, to “help our low-income neighbours have a wonderful holiday season.”
In all, the two charities raised about $2,500 in donations, approximately $1,500 worth of toys and 300 pounds of food.
“The event was fantastic,” said Lisa Werring, executive director of the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
“The community really fell in love with the Christmas in July concept, especially visiting with ‘Summer Santa.’ His outfit was amazing. The giant sandcastle created by artist Dale Murdock was beautiful, his sandcastle lessons were very popular. The dance troupes, Phoenix Dance & Music School and the Paul Tavai-Latta Polynesian Dancers & Co., had everyone tapping their toes and the Hula Girl Shave Ice Company kept everyone deliciously cool.”
Werring thanked all the volunteers who made the event possible, and the people of Surrey for their “generous support.”
“And a very special thank you to my colleague Feezah Jaffer of the Surrey Food Bank and the wonderful staff at Guildford for partnering with us to bring this wonderful event to Surrey. We will definitely be back for another Christmas in July celebration next summer,” she added.
Jaffer said “once everyone got over the confusion of the Christmas music playing, I they really embraced the event and we are very grateful to all of the volunteers and the team at Guildford Town Centre for their wonderful support.
“A big shout out to Lisa Werring from the Surrey Christmas Bureau for her time and dedication and special thanks to our community for their generosity to help their neighbours in need,” she added.
“Hunger knows no season,” Jaffer said, noting this event is a “wonderful way to keep that awareness and community spirit alive.”
Werring said at the City of Surrey grows, “so does the need for support for the vulnerable families in our community.”
“Christmas in July is a perfect opportunity for families to come together, participate in fun activities and keep the spirit of giving alive year round,” Werring said.
The two charities work year-round to help thousands of Surrey families.
Last year, the Surrey Christmas Bureau provided toys and nutritious food for the holidays to nearly 2,000 families, including almost 4,100 children.
The Surrey Food Bank, which has served the communities of Surrey and North Delta since 1983, provides food hampers 14,000 low-income individuals each month, with 41 per cent of their clients being children and babies.