Vy Pham, a Fraser Heights Secondary graduate, and Anson Chung, a Grade 10 student, work on one of the rocking moose in the school’s wood shop Thursday, Dec. 5. They handmade toys are for the Surrey Christmas Bureau. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Fraser Heights

‘A labour of love’: High school turns into ‘toy shop’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau

Fraser Heights Secondary has been making toys for the non-profit for more than a decade

The elves were busy in their Surrey “toy shop,” putting together the finishing touches on their latest batch of toys.

For 17 years, Fraser Heights Secondary School’s wood shop has turned into its own toy shop to help out the Surrey Christmas Bureau, building rocking airplanes, dinosaurs and moose.

Shop teacher Martin Lim said the initiative started years ago when the school did a trip to Tijuana, Mexico to build a house for a family.

“(We) came back here and thought, what can we do for our local community as well, and folks in need,” Lim said.

When they started all those years ago, Lim said, it was just rocking airplanes – and only 10 of them

“Over the years, it’s expanded to 60 units now; planes, dinos and moose.”

Chris Mills, a tech ed teacher, said the whole process starts in early November as they gather up the materials and volunteers.

“We do a lot of prep work during the day with students to get all the pieces ready for the night crew that comes and does all the various jobs that are needed,” said Mills, adding that it takes about three to three-and-a-half weeks total.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth it… We put a lot of hours in but it’s nice to see it once we get to the bureau and the parents’ eyes light up when they get to see these big shiny toys that they may be able to deliver to the Christmas tree come Christmas morning.”

On hand Thursday (Dec. 5) was Fraser Heights 2017 graduate Vy Pham, who took shop all throughout high school.

“They introduced me to the Christmas bureau my first year, so Grade 8. I got really close to the teachers, so I always came back and helped,” said Pham, adding that the shop teachers, Lim and Mills, are like family to her now.

“Every time it happens, they just shoot me a text and I just come right out.”

It was two years ago that Pham got the opportunity to drop off the toys to the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

“We drove out, we unloaded the truck with all the toys in it and it was very, very nice to see. I saw a lot of the things that people were donating. It feels good to know that someone who maybe wasn’t as fortunate as the rest of us gets to wake up and have something new in their life,” she said.

Asked why she keeps coming back to help, Pham said part of it is the people.

“They’re always smiling. You don’t come here and see someone angry painting, everyone’s just happy and they volunteer their time to come out. It’s very nice to see that.”

As for the Christmas bureau, Tony Miles said that year after year, the volunteers are helping to making families in Surrey “have a really great Christmas.”

Miles, who is on the bureau’s board of directors, said it’s impressive to see all the work that goes into the toys.

“When you see it put together, it looks pretty straightforward, but there’s a lot of moving parts here. Just to get it prepped with the paint and getting it cut… It’s really a labour of love for these people, I can tell.”

But for the families, Miles said the toys mean a great deal.

“I think that because these items are so colourful, parents are immediately drawn to it. I’ve said to a few people that I think that for a lot of families, these become heirlooms. They’re really well made and there’s something that families will remember for a long time.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chris Mills, a teacher at Fraser Heights Secondary, works on one of the rocking moose in the school’s wood shop Thursday, Dec. 5. They handmade toys are for the Surrey Christmas Bureau. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Just Posted

Not everybody lined up to vote on Saturday. In Surrey, 68,396 mail-in ballots still need to be counted for the final election tally. (Black Press Media)
North Surrey voters steer left, South Surrey voters steer right

Once again, it’s NDP orange in the city’s north end, Liberal red in the south

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)
14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

Webinar tonight to field questions, share info on Peace Portal Alliance Church refuge

Fraser Health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Delta Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Grace Kennedy photo)
Outbreak over at Delta Hospital

In all, 45 cases of COVID-19 were identified and seven patients died during the outbreak

The Sunshine Band Club video posted to Youtube.
VIDEO: Surrey youth band shines light on ‘COVID blues,’ raises money for hospital

Virtual concert from Sunshine Band Club, established last March

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Most Read