The Surrey Christmas Bureau launched its 2017 season Wednesday by handing out donated bicycles to needy children. It’s expecting a busy year compared to last year, which saw more than 2,000 disadvantaged families — 4,000 or so kids among them — get a much-needed boost this holiday season.
The 40 bikes were delivered that same day in a van, behind the Christmas Bureau at 6878 King George Blvd., by R.E.C. for Kids, a group formed in 2007 by White Rock Rotarians dedicated to “providing Recycled Equipment and Cycles for kids,” hence the acronym.
Lisa Werring, executive director of the bureau, expected the bikes to go fast. “As everybody knows, when you’re a child getting a new bike under the tree for Christmas, it’s a dream come true,” she said Wednesday. “So I imagine there is going to be some very happy parents leaving the bureau today.”
Werring is anticipating a busy 2017 Christmas season.
“Last year we helped just about 2,000 families,” Werring told the Now-Leader. “That includes over 4,000 children and generally year over year we see about a 10 per cent increase. I anticipate we will see over 2,000 families come through this year, and as I said, it starts today — the need is really great.”
The bureau will operate until at least Dec. 20 and perhaps longer, depending on the need. “Right now we’re finishing registrations. Registrations are still active until December 2nd, that’s this Saturday,” Werring said.
“The toys start going out the door today,” she said Wednesday, “and will carry on through December. We are also continuing to receive donations down here at the depot, donations of new unwrapped toys as well as cash donations and we are in desperate need of cash donations as well as we did have two funders that were unable to help us this year, two major funders.”
Donations especially needed now are toys for children ages eight to 12.
Ian Lagasse is president of R.E.C. for Kids. “All my buddies call me Le Goose,” he joked.
His group, a non-profit organization, means business.
“So far this year, since January 1, we have delivered 746 bicycles to disadvantaged kids and families,” Lagasse said. “This mission of the R.E.C. for Kids society is to provide reconditioned sports and recreational equipment to children in need in Surrey, White Rock, North Delta and Langley. So that’s the catchment area our focus is on.”
Werring said their work is “amazing.”
Fred Wickens, a member of R.E.C. for Kids, helped with Wednesday’s delivery.
“We’ve worked on some bikes, we recycled the bikes and fixed them all up, then we bring them to the Christmas Bureau for them to distribute,” he said. “They’re donated to us, we get some of the stolen bikes from the RCMP. People donate them.”
Want to donate a bike to a disadvantaged child? “Make dreams real!” is R.E.C.’s motto.
R.E.C. for Kids is located at 13379 68th Ave. in Surrey and can be reached by phoning 604-598-0322.
Want to donate to the Christmas Bureau? You can visit canadahelps.org/en/dn/18772 or call 604-581-9623 for more information.