Debbi Chapman loves to help out at the Mission Christmas Bureau. She has volunteered her time for the past 10 years and has no plans to stop.

Debbi Chapman loves to help out at the Mission Christmas Bureau. She has volunteered her time for the past 10 years and has no plans to stop.

A decade of dedication by Mission Christmas Bureau volunteer

Debbi Chapman says helping people who need assistance can be rewarding and she loves to help kids.

Looking into a shopping cart filled with clothes and boxes, Debbi Chapman reaches in and pulls out several princess dresses.

“We had 100 of these donated,” she said as she holds up the little gowns.

Chapman is a volunteer at the Mission Christmas Bureau and has been helping to make the holidays a little brighter for local families for the past decade.

And while she turns 60 in April, Chapman has no plans to slow down.

“I always wanted to volunteer for the Christmas Bureau but I was self-employed.”

She and her husband had run their own greenhouse business for years, but once her husband made the decision to retire, at age 78, Chapman knew she would finally have the time available to donate.

She went down to Mission Community Services, filled out an application, attended a seminar and met Phil Hope, coordinator of the Mission Food Centre and Christmas Bureau.

Ten years later, Chapman s still a volunteer, but many consider her to be Hope’s right hand lady.

“That’s just because I’ve been here so long and I’m the only one who puts in full-time hours,” she said with a laugh.

While she enjoys helping others, Chapman said volunteering has also been a great personal experience.

“Christmas was always very important in our family and I was sort of estranged from my family. This was sort of a way of giving back because I have no children and the step-grandchildren are far away. This is the closest thing I could do to get Christmas in our house.”

She said she keeps coming back, year after year because, she likes the people she works with.

“There are a lot of dedicated people here. And Phil is a really good guy. And he needs all the help he can get at this time of year.”

That doesn’t mean it isn’t a lot of hard work.

“We grumble in October, ‘Oh man it’s almost Christmas Bureau time’, but by the middle of November, everybody’s here and ready to help.”

Dealing with people who need assistance can be rewarding. Chapman said every family is different.

“Everybody needs help. And we are here for the children. No matter what happens with the adults, we’re here for the kids.”

The volunteers don’t get to see the kids reactions when they open their presents but they know they have made Christmas a little nicer. And the parents feel better too.

“That’s a reason we do not wrap the toy part of the hamper, so the moms and the dads get to see what’s been donated and they get to feel like they are actually able to give it.”

Her dedication to the bureau is unfaltering, even when tragedy struck.

“I lost my husband a year ago in October and Phil came to me and said, ‘We understand, you won’t  be coming to do the Christmas Bureau.’ And I said ‘Actually I am.’”

Chapman said it was something she just had to do.

“It got me through the beginning of my grief  because I was so busy down here focusing on everything but that.”

Chapman can’t see herself slowing down anytime soon. Once January comes, she’ll probably go to Reno.

“I’m planning to travel as much as I can and in October, I’ll start thinking about the Christmas Bureau again.

Anyone who needs help this Christmas season can come to the bureau office and register for assistance. The office is open for registration Monday to Friday, until Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations can be dropped off at the office Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Christmas Bureau office is located at 32555 London Ave. in Mission.


Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Mission students hold rally, say everyone welcome at school

Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary School hosted an Anti-Racism Day on June 15

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Most Read