(Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau/Instagram)

(Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau/Instagram)

Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, PNE to host drive-thru holiday toy collection

COVID-19 means more families could need extra help during the upcoming holidays

Anticipating a troublesome Christmas with the hit of COVID-19, the Pacific National Exhibition has partnered with the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau to provide assistance to families in need during the holidays with a physically-distanced toy drive.

The bureau assists an average of 1,000 families a year. Working with 40 other businesses and agencies, the bureau ships more than 145,000 Christmas gifts to be distributed. They also give out approximately $70,000 worth of supermarket gift cards to families in need.

Susan Levang is the president of the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. With COVID-19, many of the bureau’s large annual events have been scaled back or cancelled to ensure the safety of their participants.

Having partnered with the PNE, the organization is still able to keep their commitment of helping the community during the holiday season.

“We are inspired by our long-term donors and supporters who continue to give,” Levang said in a statement.

“Despite their generosity, in a year of rising need, our situation was concerning. This event will allow people in the Lower Mainland to open their hearts to support children who simply wouldn’t have a gift under the tree or a special holiday meal to share without the generosity of our community.”

Both not-for-profit organizations are able to bring holiday toys to thousands of underprivileged children in the region by hosting a drive-thru event that follows the restrictions of COVID-19.

The two-day event will happen on the PNE grounds on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13.

The bureau has been dedicating their services for 90 years, ensuring that every child is able to have a smile on Christmas Day.

“COVID has made it abundantly clear that we must bring people and organizations together during this difficult time,” PNE CEO Shelley Frost said in a statement.

“Using the PNE’s proven drive thru model to assist the Christmas bureau in their toy drive is a natural coming together of two of Vancouver’s most trusted organizations that are all about family.”

As a thank you for the community’s generosity, each vehicle that makes a donation will receive two cups of coffee and a bag of mini donuts, the bureau said.

The Bureau’s toy drive at the PNE will be open on Nov. 12 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m and on Nov. 13 from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For more information about the event, you can visit the PNE’s website.

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