With new ideas and a freshly-minted team of volunteer leaders, the Christmas Bureau at Mission Community Services Society (MCSS) is already well into its planning for the 2017 season.
“We are continuing a legacy started in 1972 of community engagement and supporting people who need our help,” said the bureau’s new coordinator, Lesley Drown, whose excitement is obvious.
The seasoned volunteer has lived in Mission for 27 years and is a retired teacher-librarian raised in Kemano and Kitimat who knows the value of volunteerism and is recruiting new people every day.
Working with her this year is Mika Brosseau, the Christmas Bureau fundraising team leader. Relatively new to Mission, Brosseau is experienced working with motorcycle toy runs and Children’s Hospital fundraising in Alberta.
“I want to get to know Mission. I love Christmas and helping kids … it’s all about the kids.”
Advanced hamper registration for the Mission Christmas Bureau begins Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday at MCSS main office on Second Avenue (call 604-826-3634 for information). Cutoff is Nov. 10 and then registration continues at its Christmas Bureau storefront when it opens Nov. 13 in Unit 142 at Mission Junction next to The Source.
Not only is the campaign all volunteer run to reduce overhead, but this year it will also support vulnerable seniors and singles.
Needs are assessed based on the low income threshold posted in provincial government guidelines, said Drown.
Donations can be submitted online on the website donation page at missioncommunityservices.com, in person at the Second Ave. office (33179 Second Ave.), at MCSS Food Centre (32646 Logan Ave.) or through various community events ranging from the West Coast Express Santa Toy Run and Mission Candlelight Parade to the Festival of Trees and other major Mission Santa drives.
Watch the MCSS Christmas Bureau Facebook and web pages for all the details.
Drown said the Mission Christmas Bureau is continuing its historic partnership with the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau which provides valuable support from Squamish to Harrison.
Drown and Brosseau said the Mission Kitchens/Christmas Bureau – Wish Campaign features a minimum target of $100,000 in 2017.
Also working with them this year are Lexi Richards of MCSS Mission Kitchens/Food Centre; Debbie Daoust of MCSS seniors programming and Annie Charker of the MCSS New to Canada program.
“We are looking for new toys, clothing and non-perishable foods this year in addition to the generous donations of cash,” said Drown. “It’s never too early to start talking about Christmas, especially when you are planning to help others.”