‘Whalley Santa Cause’ drive needs donations, help for Christmas Day event

Volunteers to again spread some joy in Surrey on Dec. 25

Erica Beckstead (right) and other volunteers with Whalley Santa Cause prepare hampers for distribution on Christmas Day 2014.

SURREY — Volunteers with the Whalley Santa Cause initiative will again spread some joy on Christmas Day, but they need some help.

They’re low on donations that fill the small hampers given to people who live on Surrey’s toughest streets.

On Dec. 25 every year since 2011, project leader Erica Beckstead and others have walked “The Strip” handing out gift baskets to those in need.

“I have, like, no donations yet, and it’s already into December and I’m freaking out a bit,” Beckstead told the Now.

“Last year, two months before, my whole living room was filled with stuff,” she added. “A (TV program) was done about it last year, and that’s how I got a lot of stuff last time.”

A former crack addict who once lived on the street, Beckstead cleaned up her act and eventually decided to make a difference by launching the Whalley Santa Cause project.

One job took her to some posh hotels, from which she collected toiletries to give to those in need.

“I’d grab all the soaps and shampoos, so that’s what started this,” said Beckstead, who now works as a makeup artist. “We started these gift bags, and they’re travel-sized because a lot of the people who receive this stuff don’t want to carry around big bottles of shampoo or whatever.”

Food, clothing and other items are added to the gift bags, she said.

“We see a lot of hurt,” Beckstead revealed.

“Last year I brought my son, who was 22 at the time, and we saw a guy preparing his heroin right there on the street, getting ready to inject it. And the year before that we saw a girl who was beaten up by her john – her whole face was bloody and we had to call an ambulance, just completely out of it. It was awful.

“It really gets to me,” she added, “because I live three blocks away in a comfortable home, and some of these people really need help.”

So far this year, around a dozen people have promised to take part in Whalley Santa Cause – a far cry from the 30 who participated last year, Beckstead noted. But it’s still early, and she encourages those who want to take part – and donate – to visit the group online, at Facebook.com/WhalleySantaCause, call her at 778-233-4344 or email whalleysantacause@hotmail.com.

The Whalley Santa Cause group will meet at 1 p.m. Christmas Day at the Gateway SkyTrain station, near the taxis.

“It doesn’t take more than two hours,” Beckstead said.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

 

Just Posted

Findlay to be next CPC candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

Former cabinet minister lost 2017 election to Liberal Gordie Hogg

Teenage girl, 17, accused of stabbing girl, 16, in Surrey

Victim’s injuries not life-threatening

Fledgling Surrey City Orchestra tunes up for showcase concert Friday

Conductor Stuart Martin’s four-year goal is to build a core group of about 60 Surrey-based musicians

Fraser Health to buy two private MRI clinics in Surrey, Abbotsford

New clinics will provide 2,000 more MRIs by fiscal year-end

Safe Surrey Coalition opposes removing any property from ALR

McCallum and Pettigrew take issue with a Port Kells proposal to exclude property from the Agricultural Land Reserve

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye salmon

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read