NANAIMO — It's a joy to receive presents at Christmas, but it's also a joy to give a present and help out a family in need.
Volunteer Nanaimo is putting out the call for donations to support their annual Christmas Angel program. Over the last roughly 15 years, Christmas Angels has reached out to community groups, the school district and other organizations to assemble a list and check it twice of families in need.
The volunteer angels will then shop for specific gifts to give to families, making sure everyone enjoys the most wonderful time of the year.
Volunteer Nanaimo vice-chair Sarah Pachkowsky said though the Christmas Angels program has always steadily gotten bigger, they've seen a remarkable increase of need in recent years.
“Already this year we've got roughly 900 individuals within the Nanaimo area that will be getting help this year. And that was just by the end of November. We've even found families in need a couple days prior (to Christmas) and we'll do our best to help those families as well.”
There's no limit or minimum contribution to donations.
“Even though you could say the economy has been doing really well, there's still a lot of people falling between the gaps. Whether it's a small $10 gift card, or maybe a pair of boots, everything helps. We actually just found out there's a 12-year-old boy who had his bike stolen, so we're looking for a mid-sized BMX bike to be able to fill that need.”
The volunteer program is also looking for more Angels to make the holiday season even brighter.
Pachkowsky said helping a family is almost like a present given to themselves.
"It's great to receive gifts, but as most people say, it's also a really great feeling to be able to purchase gifts or do something kind for someone else. I think having that personalization, being able to go shop and think of how you can impact a family or individual really sets it apart from other things that happen at this time of the year."
Donations are accepted until Dec. 23.
Anyone looking to become a Christmas Angel or donate gifts can reach out to Volunteer Nanaimo through Facebook, check out volunteernanaimo.ca or call their office at (250) 758-7121.
— with files from Dom Abassi
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit
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