GUILDFORD — Vacant retail space in a corner of Riverside Heights shopping centre became an early Christmas gift for KC Gilroy and others with Surrey Christmas Bureau.
The charitable organization has returned to the 38,000-square-foot depot on 108th Avenue, thanks to another donation from GWL Realty Advisors.
“It’s the same place we had last year, and it’s the first time we’ve had that situation in years,” said Gilroy, who co-ordinates the bureau’s seasonal activities.
“We moved out completely after last Christmas, of course, but the site became available to us again this year. It’s a wonderful space. We’re very lucky.”
On Tuesday (Nov. 17), the well-lit hub was abuzz with activity as volunteers prepared for the opening of registration the following morning. By 6:30 a.m., the lineup stretched past neighbouring stores in the mall as people checked in as part of the bureau’s strict screening process. On Dec. 5, ticket-holding registrants will begin to return to the depot to gather some needed goods, including toys, gift cards, clothing and more.
Last year, the bureau helped make Christmas a little brighter for close to 1,700 families in Surrey.
PICTURED AT LEFT: Employees of Fraser Health helped set up Surrey Christmas Bureau’s toy depot on Tuesday (Nov. 17).
“Because of the way we process people, in an orderly way, that’s our number,” Gilroy explained. “We’d like to be able to help more, but we do run out of days to serve people.”
As boxes begin to fill shelves at the bureau’s depot, more donations are always welcome.
“The teen aisle is really in need of some items,” Gilroy emphasized.
Donated goods will be collected for the organization at a number events leading up to Christmas, including a new basketball-focused “Jingle Hoops” event Nov. 28 at Kwantlen Park Secondary. Later, All-Star Wrestling stages its annual “Bodyslams for Toys” in Cloverdale on Dec. 12, and another “Stuff the Bus” event happens that same weekend at Comfort Inn & Suites in Fleetwood.
“We can always use the help, and that includes people coming to the depot – groups of employees, students, whoever can volunteer some time,” Gilroy said.
The phone number at Surrey Christmas Bureau is 604-581-9623, or visit them online at Christmasbureau.com.