Christmas spirit is alive and well in Surrey after thousands of dollars of gift cards and laptops were stolen from the Surrey Christmas Bureau early Wednesday morning.
The community sprung into action within a matter of hours, with donations pouring in from locals as well as businesses.
Both London Drugs and Guildford Town Centre donated $6,000 in gift cards to the charity, with Santa himself delivering the donation from the mall to the toy depot.
Central City Shopping Centre has also indicated it will be contributing and a singer named Blake Elliott (known as mister Blake) presented a $10,000 cheque to the bureau on a local radio show.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity and love that we have been shown today,” the Surrey Christmas Bureau tweeted Wednesday evening. “To each and every one of you that donated, called, helped us fix our doors, brought sandwiches, coffee and hugs, thank you all so very much.”
On the Simi Sara Show today, generous @CKNW listeners donated $12,000 to replace stolen gifts intended for local teenagers-in-need at the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
Here's the moment local singer, mister Blake, presented a cheque for $10,000 to Lisa Werring from the Bureau. pic.twitter.com/L2v1bWwPnM
— Alan Regan (@alan_regan) December 11, 2019
Everyone who has stepped up to help @SurreyChristmas – Thank-you very, very much! So many families will have a Merry Christmas because of your generosity. Mr. Blake @cknw @JanetBrown980 @LondonDrugs @ShopGTC @amyreid87 pic.twitter.com/3twYRGtqWA
— Downtown Surrey BIA (@dtsurreybia) December 11, 2019
Clint Mahlman, president and chief operating officer of London Drugs, said the company decided to help soon after hearing about the unfortunate theft.
“Many of our employees call Surrey home. We love to take care of the community, because it’s been so generous to us over the years,” he told the Now-Leader. “It’s unfortunate that events like this continue to happen, and it’s head-scratching why some people are so evil this time of year. We’re just so thankful to be able to help.”
The theft was first discovered by police shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday (Dec. 11). It’s believed that roughly $6,000 in gift cards and three laptops were stolen.
“Somebody had kicked in our back door and got in. The break-in happened sometime shortly after 6 a.m.,” said Lisa Werring, the charity’s executive director, early Wednesday morning. “While we were already struggling for teen gifts, now we basically don’t have any. All the gift cards coming in for teenagers have been taken. It’s absolutely devastating.”
Surrey RCMP Inspector Gurmakh Parmar described the theft as “deplorable.”
“I encourage anyone with information about this incident to contact police and help ensure we can support those that support the vulnerable in our community,” Parmar added.
— Clint Mahlman (@ClintMahlman) December 12, 2019
— Central City (@centralcity) December 12, 2019
The charity had already been struggling to meet demand this holiday season, resulting in a call for donations in late November to meet an “increasing need” in the community.
Werring said late last month that more than 1,200 families including 3,360 children had already signed up for help and more are registering every day.
Toys and cash donations can be dropped off to the depot at at 10240 City Pkwy., Monday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 2019 Toy Wish list and a link for financial donations are also available on the Christmas Bureau website at christmasbureau.com.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502, or Crime Stoppers, to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-8477 or solvecrime.ca, quoting file number 2019-191430.