Surrey Schools students & volunteers help Surrey Christmas Bureau grant holiday wishes
Things around the Surrey Christmas Bureau are a lot merrier thanks to the efforts of students and volunteers from Surrey Schools.
Coming in the form of on-site volunteers and donated goods, the holiday help has become something the organization looks forward to each year, said Lisa Werring, executive director for the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
“It’s been so wonderful to work with Surrey Schools,” she said.
Extra hands are being provided by a Guildford Park Secondary humanities class, which started volunteering with the organization during the pandemic.
“Prior to 2020 we had a few students that would do their co-op with us each year,” explained Werring. “But when the pandemic hit and many of our volunteers couldn’t come out, the Guildford Park team stepped up and their entire class stepped in to fill the void. That first year of the pandemic, they came out and did the work of 300 volunteers and it’s been amazing ever since.”
Grade 11 humanities student Manuela Mosquera said working at the bureau has been rewarding.
“I’ve been here for about a month and it’s been really great,” she said, “I like seeing people so happy with their Christmas gifts and it feels good giving back to the community.”
Mosquera, who spends two days a week at the bureau, sorts donations, stocks shelves and helps families choose toys for their children.
“This is my first time volunteering for something like this and it’s been really inspiring,” she said. “I’m thinking of coming back next year on my own to help out again.”
In addition to providing volunteers, Guildford Park will also be providing wooden toys constructed by the school’s Discover Trades 11 class, consisting of cars and doll bassinets.
"It was a good experience for the students in Discover Trades as it gave them an opportunity to try their hand at woodworking and painting," said Guildford Park shop teacher Owen Scharf. "It was also nice to see the pride that students took in their work. At first, some students weren't too sure about parting with their creations, but everyone was happy knowing that they are going to a good cause."
Elsewhere in the district, having celebrated 20 years of toy making for the bureau last year, Fraser Heights Secondary delivered another 60 handcrafted wooden riding toys for this year’s clients.
“We have no plans to stop,” said Martin Lim, career facilitator and founder of the Fraser Heights toy build. “So long as we have community donations that keep making this possible then we’re good to go.”
For this year’s build, Lim said they had about a dozen volunteers take part, and used about $4,000 in donated lumber and materials.
This year, Fraser Heights delivered the toys on a sunny Friday afternoon and less than 15 minutes after delivery, a mother and child at the bureau made their way over to the collection and left with a purple moose rocker.
“My daughter likes it very much,” said the woman, her toddler pointing at the toy on their way out.
“These are very popular toys and they have become generational toys, we know many of our families that have passed these down on to grandchildren, so they remain well-used and well-loved,” said Werring. “And as you can see, they go pretty quickly.”
The Surrey Christmas Bureau will be assisting more than 2,000 local families this year, and are still in need of donations. Toy and monetary donations can be dropped off at their 2023 Toy Depot (13665 – 102 Ave. the former Canadian Tire) Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop offs to all Surrey fire halls are also open for the season. Online monetary donations are also accepted here.
For more information on the Surrey Christmas Bureau and how to donate, visit christmasbureau.com
Fraser Heights Secondary would also like to thank the following donors for making this year’s toy build possible:
- Country Lumber
- Northcoast Building Supplies
- Dulux Paints Langley
- Reimer Hardwoods
- BC Fasteners & Tools (2000)