Surrey Christmas Bureau coordinator K.C. Gilroy (right) and volunteer Christie Carlson decorate the new bureau offices at 7404 King George Blvd.

Surrey Christmas Bureau finds a home in Newton

Families can apply for holiday help starting this week.

Its motto is Making Spirits Bright, and now the Surrey Christmas Bureau (SCB) can move ahead with providing holiday help, now that they have a place to set up shop.

After searching for a location for months, the organization has secured an 8,000-sq.-ft. space in Newton to establish its toy depot and registration area.

The Christmas bureau often has trouble finding a location due in part to the fact it only needs to rent space for two months and landlords are often looking for more long-term tenants.

But after seeing newspaper coverage about the need for space, GWL Realty Advisors contacted the non-profit organization to offer them a vacant spot at King’s Cross Shopping Centre.

“We are very pleased to have GWL Realty Advisors step up as our community partners,” said the SCB’s board chair Allan Keel. “Having this excellent centrally located site will help us assist a large number of families this season.”

The site will be the main hub for the collection and distribution of gifts to low-income families at Christmas, and will also serve as a registration area where families in need can apply for assistance.

Donations can be dropped off at the depot as of Nov. 15, but can be left at any Surrey fire hall location before that.

The SCB has been operating in the community for 40 years. Last year the organization registered nearly 1,700 low-income families – from the working poor to newly arrived immigrants – and is expecting about 2,000 families will apply for assistance this Christmas season.

Volunteers will begin registering families at the toy depot beginning Friday (Nov. 9). Proof of identity and income level must be provided and the age and gender of the children are taken at the same time so they may be matched with appropriate gifts. The bureau always needs more gifts for teens and babies as they are the least commonly donated items.

The bureau also has a program that allows individuals or businesses to sponsor a whole family. Sponsors are given information on the age and gender of the kids and can then go out an buy for the entire family. Last year 600 low-income families in Surrey were sponsored by the community.

To register with the SCB, applicants must have the following documents:

• Government-issued photo identification;

• Proof of income for last three months, all pay stubs or direct deposit information for that period;

• If receiving welfare, must bring two cheque stubs;

• Proof of residence (phone bill, electric or gas bill, cable bill);

• B.C. Medical Care Cards for all in the family;

• Bank statements from all bank accounts for the last two months;

• All immigration papers and permanent residency cards;

• If applying for your spouse, a signed letter stating that they agree you can apply for them;

• Bring spouse’s photo ID (legible photocopy okay) if you are reporting spouse’s income.

The Surrey Christmas Bureau is located at 7404 King George Blvd. and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For further information, check www.surreychristmasbureau.com or phone 604-581-9623.