Mission Christmas Bureau hands out 600 hampers

"The community has really come together," says bureau coordinator Phil Hope

Many local organizations, businesses and individuals have answered the call for help by the Mission Christmas Bureau.

“The community has really come together from every direction you can imagine, from youth sports teams and individuals to businesses and non-profit groups,” said bureau coordinator Phil Hope.

In the past two week, enough donations have been collected to fill most of the 600 hampers being distributed this year.

Two weeks ago The Record reported only 23 per cent of this year’s $130,000 goal had been reached. That number has jumped to 65 per cent with $85,000.

Last week representatives from Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., which owns Chances in Mission, brought in 450 pounds of items and more than $1,800 in cash to the bureau, while Cycling4Diversity riders collected enough food and gifts around Mission to fill five hampers this past weekend.

An anonymous donor also wrote a cheque for $5,000, said Hope, noting these were just a few examples of the kind of generous people and organizations that have come through the Christmas Bureau’s doors.

The amount of funds raised from last week’s Christmas at the Clarke benefit concert are not yet known.

“I want to thank everyone for responding,” said Hope.

But even as the last hamper is given out this week, the work Hope does with the Mission Community Services Food Centre will continue into January and throughout the year.

The number of people who registered for hampers this year decreased by about 100 compared to last Christmas, but the total receiving help from the Food Centre has increased by five per cent compared to last year, according to Hope, who is puzzled by the numbers.

“It’s troublesome,” said Hope, noting financial donations are always needed. To donate to the Food Centre, call 604-826-3634.