SURREY — The Surrey Christmas Bureau is once again searching for a space for its annual toy depot and time is running out.
“The toy depot is essential for us to fulfill our mandate of ‘making Christmas happen’ for thousands of local kids,” said bureau co-cordinator K.C. Gilroy.
For the last two years, the bureau has operated out of a former Liquidation World at 14885 108th Ave. in Guildford but Gilroy said it looks like the space has been leased out.
“So we’re not quite sure,” she told the Now.
Finding a space large enough for its operations is something the bureau struggles with nearly every year.
As Gilroy always says, the group finds itself “one step ahead of the bulldozer,” often operating out of empty grocery stores, warehouses or open plan offices.
Gilroy said the charity requires a centrally located space of at least 8,000 square feet to set up shelves of donated toys and sporting equipment for distribution to hundreds of families.
“So many people are counting on us this year,” said Gilroy. “A community champion is desperately needed to help us find a two-month home for our operations.”
The bureau ideally would move into a space on Nov. 1, said Gilroy, or Nov. 15 at the very latest.
“And we can be out by New Year’s Eve if we had to,” she added. “So if a renter had a space rented out Jan. 1, we could be out by then.”
Last Christmas, the charity helped 1,720 low-income families thanks to help from the “generous” residents of Surrey, said Gilroy.
This year, the bureau is busy preparing for an even greater need than usual as they expect to get “slammed by the Syrian refugees.”
Refugees can be hard to help because challenges arise in getting their income information, Gilroy revealed.
“They obviously don’t have income income, but they have government sponsorship,” she explained. “Some of them have some sort of bank roll of some kind, so we have to kind of flesh that out and its very hard because they don’t want to tell you anything, and that’s understandable. So that’s going to be a challenge.”
Gilroy is already connecting with people at Surrey’s Middle Eastern Friendship Centre for help educating newcomers about their service and what information they’ll need to provide when registering.
If you can help the bureau get their space this year, contact Gilroy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-581-9623.
More information on the charity can be found at christmasbureau.com.