Surrey Christmas Bureau director Lisa Werring inside this year’s toy shop, set up at the old Stardust roller rink building. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey Christmas Bureau director Lisa Werring inside this year’s toy shop, set up at the old Stardust roller rink building. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey Christmas Bureau calls for donations to meet ‘increasing need’

The Surrey charity begins distributing toys to families in need this week

Toys were being sorted, shelves were being lined for shopping and families in need filled the lobby of the Surrey Christmas Bureau this Wednesday.

It was day one of toy distribution for what’s lovingly referred to as the “Surrey North Pole,” by executive director Lisa Werring.

“We run on coffee and sugar around here,” she joked, during a tour of this year’s toy depot, set up at the old Stardust roller rink building for the second year running.

Behind shelves upon shelves of toys ready to be chosen is the bureau’s storage area.

There are massive mountains of stuffed animals, boxes upon boxes of toys and dozens of bikes waiting to be chosen.

It may look like a lot, but they won’t last long, Werring explained.

“We will have approximately 85 families per day coming in to select toys for their children. While it looks right now like we have a lot of stock and a lot of big fellas like this,” she said, holding a giant teddy bear, “they’re going to disappear very, very quickly over the next couple of weeks. In our first week alone we’ve got 765 kids, and 260 teenagers to supply gifts to.”

“That’s just week one.”

For each child, a family can select one big toy, one medium-sized toy, one book, and a new article of clothing. And some families the bureau serves have up to eight children.

“That stock is going to be depleted very rapidly,” she said.

While Werring lovingly and accurately referred to the toy depot as a “pop-up Toys R Us,” she said stocking it is no small feat.

With Christmas less than a month away, and thousands of local children registered to receive gifts, the charity is asking for help amid an “increasing need” in the community.

So far this year, more than 1,200 families including 3,360 children have signed up for help and more are registering every day.

“With over 2,000 families to help during the season, we schedule approximately 85 families per day to come in and pick up toys, so we do have to start early,” said Werring. “We need a constant supply of toy donations now and throughout the season to keep our shelves full. Our fantastic team of volunteers work tirelessly restocking all season to ensure parents have the dignity of a full shopping experience.”

The bureau is asking any businesses and families that have been conducting toy drives to bring the items down to the Toy Depot at 10240 City Parkway as soon as possible.

“The saddest thing we can imagine is anyone looking at an almost empty shelf, thinking they have to pick the last toy available,” Werring added.

Teen gifts are always a big need, Werring said.

“During the holidays, sharing that special family meal on the table is just as important as the toys under the tree,” she noted. “The bureau is also in need of cash donations to fulfill our grocery hamper program for these families. To date, the financial requirement for the hamper program is $116,000, that figure will grow to approximately $150,000 before the season is over. Thousands of families count on us and community champions are desperately needed to help us put toys under trees, turkeys on tables and make sure Christmas is merry for everyone.”

What keeps Werring going during this of year, even amid the worry of filling those shelves?

“It’s putting smiles on faces. When I see families come in here and I see parents that are really stressed with the cost of living, trying to make ends meet living in the Lower Mainland, then worrying about the expense of Christmas, they just can’t afford to give their children anything. We’re able to take that pressure off of them….. And, more importantly for many families, grocery gift cards to help put that all important family meal on the table. That’s really making Christmas magic.”

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.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $420,570 in grants for local arts, culture groups

This happened at Monday night’s council meeting, to cover 2021

In September 2018, former Vancouver Canucks player Dave Babych tees off at Northview Golf & Country Club in Surrey during the 35th annual Jake Milford Charity Invitational tournament. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
No ‘shotguns’ or banquets: Surrey golf courses pitch COVID-safe tournaments for 2021

With spring on the way, course operators book tournaments that will involve ‘tweaks and adjustments’

Investigators placed dozens of yellow evidence markers on the ground near the site of a fatal shooting in Langley City early Wednesday morning. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: 22-year-old man killed in targeted shooting in Langley

South Surrey vehicle fire may be linked to homicide: police

Members of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society picked up their new van from Mainland Ford in Surrey Wednesday (Jan. 27, 2021) after the society’s old van was stolen and damaged. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)
After thrift store van stolen and damaged, Surrey dealership helps out firefighters’ charitable society

The Community Thrift Store van was stolen in South Surrey in December

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read