The Mission Community Services Society Christmas Bureau exceeded expectations and took in $174,000 in donations in 2022.
The Christmas Bureau set out to fundraise $160,000 and sat at $147,647 on Dec. 16 but a late push put them ahead on their goal.
“I just want to thank everybody for all their support this year,” Mission Community Services executive director Nate McCready said. “It was a year where we’ve seen inflation and all kinds of struggles but people really still stepped up to help folks in our community.”
Over the course of several days, a total of 469 Christmas hampers were distributed to those in the community who needed them. Of the hampers handed out, 227 were for families, 159 were for single people and 83 were for seniors.
“All the people who registered came in over the course of several days,” McCready said. “Then we had one day open for people who didn’t register. Whatever was left over, we would make something up for them.”
The Christmas Bureau brought back its Santa Train fundraiser after a pandemic lull and saw fundraising efforts and toy drives from an array of Mission businesses and organizations.
Mission Fire Rescue Service went door to door to retrieve cash, food and toy donations and brought in $2,500 in cash, five full-size vans of food, and two car loads of unwrapped toys to give to the Christmas Bureau.
Students from the Riverside College hairstylist program provided salon services to the public free of charge to collect donations. They collected approximately 40 bags of food, 28 toys and multiple gift cards for the Christmas Bureau.
Wenting’s Cycle and Mountain Shop continued its tradition of refurbishing donated bikes to get them ready for new families. Over a dozen bikes were serviced and sent to the Christmas Bureau to find a fresh rider for the new year.
Meanwhile, Independent Cycles used some of its surplus bike inventory to donate 12 brand-new bikes to the Christmas Bureau with accompanying helmets.
Tracy McCarthy, manager of housing, outreach and the Christmas Bureau with Mission Community Services, says there was a higher demand for services in 2022 across the board —with the Christmas Bureau, food centre, emergency shelters and extreme weather shelters.
“We’re full every night for everything — I never have any vacancy,” McCarthy said. “We’ve always had a high demand in Mission — we’re always turning people away.”
Mission Community Services employs close to 100 staff and has 30 consistent volunteers.