Santa Claus met with some lucky locals at Colliers International’s annual Photos with Santa fundraiser.

Santa Claus met with some lucky locals at Colliers International’s annual Photos with Santa fundraiser.

Cloverdale’s Christmas charities thank community

Community members, businesses and organizations worked hard over the holidays to make it a merry time for everyone.

Cloverdale community members, businesses and organizations worked hard over the holidays to make it a merry time for everyone.

50,000 lbs of Christmas Hampers

In its 25th year, the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program gifted over 240 hampers to residents of Cloverdale, Port Kells and South Surrey, serving more than 500 people, including approximately 100 seniors, 120 children and 80 youth.

A hamper for a medium-sized family of four or five people included more than $250 worth of non-perishable food, household items, sundries, and grocery gift cards to purchase fresh food or a turkey for their Christmas dinner.

Families with children under 12 were able to pick gifts and stocking-stuffer items for their children or under the tree.

A single father who received a hamper called and left a message, saying, “I have never had this much food in my house at once in my life. I felt overwhelmed when I came, but the lady that helped me was so friendly. This will make Christmas better for me and my daughter.”

“We noticed early on that toy donations were on the low side and made a call out via social media for more toys, especially boys ages 8 to 12,” said Taya Vantol, an administrative coordinator for the program. “By Hamper Day, December 17, we had more than enough toys for each family!”

Vantol said the program saw upwards of 50,000 lbs of food, household items, gifts and toys donated, filling up their warehouse at the Pacific Community Church.

“We were even able to pass on what remained after filling hampers to other helping organizations in Surrey,” said Vantol.

The Cloverdale Community Kitchen’s annual Christmas dinner also served about 200 hamper recipients and community members, plus 50 volunteers who served a turkey dinner with all the fixings.

In 2017, the hamper program hopes to engage with more Port Kells businesses and local students to help support the program, and get the word out to families who might not know about the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper program and might benefit from it.

“The individuals that come for hampers have many different stories,” said Vantol. “Some we see each year, some are in need for only a season, but they all have one thing in common – the need for the support of a community of people that show them they are valued.”

“It was an incredibly successful year and we are grateful to our community for their generosity and compassion,” said Vantol.

Claus and Colliers collab in Clover Square

Colliers International’s annual Photo with Santa fundraiser collected about 560 lbs of food and $1,556 in cash donations for the Surrey Food Bank, which is about 40 per cent more than they were able to collect last year.

Santa Claus rode in to Clover Square Village on a fire truck from the BC Vintage Museum and arrived at the Santa House to greet a crowd of admirers both large and small.

Santa for Seniors

The Cloverdale London Drugs reached out to Zion Park Manor this year to create a Santa for Seniors program.

The seniors’ home made a wish list for 35 of their residents of gifts that could be purchased at London Drugs, including items such as fleece blankets, razors and bean-bag heating pads.

London Drugs created 35 gift tags and decorated their in-store Christmas tree with them. Each tag had an item from a wish list so that shoppers could purchase a gift for a senior and become a secret santa.

London Drugs staff then wrapped the gifts. Julie Scouten created handmade bows to add a special touch. Assistant manager Jill Church and Jen Versluis then dropped the gifts off at Zion Park Manor.

“The program was so popular that they ran out of tags in 48 hours,” said Michelle Whitehorse, Zion Park Manor’s Director of Care. “We’d really like to say thank you to the community of Cloverdale, the program really put a smile on our seniors’ faces.”

The seniors’ home also received basket donations from other community members and organizations, including gift baskets of Mary Kay products.

“The Cloverdale community has been overwhelmingly supportive and generous,” said Whitehorse.