Volunteers

Gift wrappers near big fundraising goal

Semiahmoo Shopping Centre volunteers raising money for cancer research

One carefully wrapped gift at a time, volunteers at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre are nearing their goal of raising $100,000 for cancer research and support.

Since launching in 2004, the by-donation gift-wrapping program has brought in close to $84,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, according to volunteer co-ordinator Janet Jans.

The program, which runs each holiday season from mid-November until Christmas Eve, is a collaborative effort between a large network of volunteers, Semiahmoo Shopping Centre management and community members and organizations.

“With cancer, you can’t meet someone who hasn’t been touched by it,” Jans said. “That’s why we all feel so lucky that we can do what we do here.”

The program is run completely by volunteers and all expenses – including wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, signage and a large kiosk near the mall’s customer service desk – are covered by Semiahmoo Shopping Centre.

Including the approximate cost of renting mall space, marketing director Jeri Cox estimates the yearly tab to be more than $5,000.

With no overhead and no staff to pay, Jans notes that 100 per cent of the donations go straight to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“There’s nobody taking a bite off the top,” she said. “We’re hoping to make it to $100,000 next year.”

This year, Jans has 87 volunteers on her roster who spend countless hours wrapping up packages of all shapes and sizes, in exchange for donations of the customer’s choosing.

“We don’t say ‘this size is $5, this size is $7,” she explained. “You donate what you want. For some people, a toonie is a lot of money.”

The volunteers come from all corners of the community and include local high school students, retirees and everything in between.

“We’ve had doctors, real estate agents, nurses, teachers… everything,” Jans said. “We’ve even had students who started eight years ago, in Grade 9 or 10, who take time off from work or school now to come join us.”

The loyalty extends beyond the volunteers, too, according to Jans, who said each year the gift-wrap station is visited by local firefighters with a huge haul of gifts to be donated to kids in need, as well as other local businesses seeking their wrapping skill for office gift exchanges .

“There are so many in the community who come and reach out, it’s wonderful.”

The gift-wrapping kiosk is open regular mall hours from now through to Christmas Eve, when, Jans said, “things get a little crazy.”

For holiday shopping hours, visit www.shopsemiahmoo.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Greedy family’s maid overcomes them all in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest play

‘The Late Christopher Bean’ is staged at Clayton-area theatre for a month starting Jan. 23

Final Four set at Surrey RCMP Classic, where a new champ will be crowned

Guildford Park beats Semiahmoo, ending Totems’ three-year championship run

City of Surrey spends $1.2M on winter maintenance – so far

Total budget of $3.7M; 7,000 tonnes of salt used

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

VIDEO: Semi driver records 22 crashes in one icy trip from Chilliwack to Abbotsford

‘Treacherous’ morning had emergency crews struggling to reach stranded drivers

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Most Read

l -->