SOS Children’s Village BC has launched its annual Christmas gift-card drive.
The initiative seeks donations of gift cards to help some of Surrey’s most vulnerable youth. The annual fundraiser supports young people at SOS Children’s Village BC including youth in their Transition To Adulthood program. The program helps youth that are “ageing out” of foster care to live independently.
Sheena Ram, a youth program manager with SOS, said the young poeple in the program struggle in this transition. She added, it’s even tougher for them around Christmas.
She said most kids are on a government program that covers their food, but it’s all the little things of life that come after that in which the kids always find themselves short.
“It’s a really important piece for them during the holidays that they are able to go out and purchase something for themselves,” Ram said of the gift cards. “At this time of the year, or Thanksgiving, or any special occasion, they want to celebrate and buy those special things for themselves.”
Ram said it may seem small to others, but to the kids, the gift cards go a long way.
“They don’t have any money for the holidays, but they are human, just like anyone. They want to celebrate too.”
Donated cards go to support more than 30 young people in the SOS system, added Ram.
Ram said anyone wishing to donate gift cards can mail them to SOS, or drop them off at the SOS Children’s Village office at 302 – 14225 57th Avenue. She also said people can donate cash through the SOS website.
She added gift cards to any store are great, but gift cards to Wal-Mart or Superstore are the best for the kids.
“At those two stores, (the kids) can buy pretty much anything (they) need there. If you want to buy a video game, you can buy a video game, if you need laundry soap, you can buy that there.”
According to their website, SOS provides “family-based foster care for children and youth” through what they call a “Village Model.” SOS supports “caregivers, youth, and kids through residential services, program and support services, and wraparound care.”
SOS said it keeps siblings together and models its care on “family strengthening, creating a sense of community and belonging, and in educating and empowering children to become contributing members of society.”
Meantime, SOS also launched it’s Big Hearts Open Doors Campaign earlier this year.
The campaign seeks to raise much-needed funds for SOS.
“Against the backdrop of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic crisis and a growing need for our services, I’d like to ask for your support for foster children and youth in need,” wrote Kistie Singh, executive director SOS Children’s Village BC in an open letter on the SOS website.
“It’s compassionate people with big hearts like you that spread warmth and safety to our kids during these isolating days of fall.”
To support Big Hearts Open Doors visit www.sosbc.org.