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Christmas Bureau donations are extremely low

Donations to the Christmas Bureau this year are as low as they’ve ever been.

Food, cash and toy donations are all down, said Phil Hope, Mission Community Service Society’s Christmas Bureau coordinator.

“We got next to nothing at the [Candlelight] parade,” Hope explained.

Volunteers bundled up and drove up and down First Avenue Friday night to collect donations, but few were collected.

“It’s the lowest we’ve ever received in the 14 years since I’ve been involved,” said Hope.

The only time fewer donations were gathered at the event was when it was cancelled a few years ago.

Fewer than 30 families are being sponsored this year and the number of businesses putting up Wish Trees to collect toy donations declined by 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Christmas Bureau has only raised about 20 per cent of its $150,000 goal this year.

The funds and donations are used to serve clients at Christmas time and throughout the rest of the year when the bureau operates as the food centre.

The program does not receive government funding, noted Hope, and the holiday season is when most of the donations come in.

More than 600 families have registered to receive Christmas hampers, and Hope predicts that number will climb by another 100 before the campaign is over.

“If everyone helped a little bit, it would add up to a lot,” said Hope. “There’s nothing that’s too small.”

Bring your donations to the Christmas Bureau located in the Junction Mall beside The Source and TD Bank. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 604-814-3333.

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