This blog post was provided by Nicole-Ann Poitras from the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.
For 90 years our number one goal at the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau has been to ensure that every child in our community has a smile on their face during the holiday season. For some, the holidays are about family and friends and the experience of sharing and giving. For others, it can be challenging as they struggle to put food on the table while trying to create meaningful memories for their families. We work tirelessly at Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau to spread holiday joy and create happy memories for everyone, especially children as we work to empower families to make that happen.
90 Years of Meaningful Christmas Experiences
2020 marks the 90th Anniversary of the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB), which was originally established in 1930. At the LMCB, our mission is to empower families in need to create Christmas experiences for their kids through the generosity of the community. We do this every December by offering close to one thousand Vancouver families an opportunity to receive Christmas support.
Our Christmas Giving Program allows us to guarantee that these low-income families or families on assistance in Vancouver can have access to help during the holiday season. The families that we help all have children 18 years of age and under. Our staff and volunteer team personally handle each application with care and kindness to ensure we can help as many families as possible.
Families in need receive a grocery store gift card to purchase items for a warm holiday meal, and parents get to personally shop through our “Pop-Up Toy Store” to select a primary gift for each of their children, along with a book, a stuffed toy, stocking stuffers, and some new and gently used clothing. This process allows families to experience Christmas with dignity and gives them a chance to personalize it for their children.
In addition to the Christmas Giving program, our work extends much further across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and through the entire year as a centralized warehouse for toys and gifts to be gathered, sorted, and shipped to Christmas Bureaus throughout the Lower Mainland. Since we are able to accept and house generous toy donations we receive year-round in our warehouse, we work diligently to ship over 100,000 toys to other Christmas Bureaus and agencies from Squamish to Hope, BC, and everywhere in between, to provide support to their Christmas assistance programs in their local communities.
Each year we receive positive feedback and heartfelt gratitude from the families that we help, and it is wonderful to be able to share the meaningful work that we accomplish within such a small team.
Noreen’s Giving Story
Retired math instructor Noreen added things up and found she didn’t need one more thing for her 75th birthday, so she invited friends to a party and asked them to bring a new, unwrapped toy she could donate to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.
“I see lots of people struggling. This is a way I can help,” Noreen said.
She is one of hundreds of donors and volunteers who help us at the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, a centralized warehouse for other bureaus and agencies in the region, help Christmas happen for low-income families each year.
Executive Director Chris Bayliss says the need remains acute.
“Our work continues,” he says. “Through our partner bureaus and various community agencies we collectively help tens of thousands of families each year with gifts and groceries. We do this one toy, one child, one family at a time. No matter the situation, a child is a child at Christmas time, and during the holidays all they want is that toy to unwrap just like all of their friends.”
Support LMCB This Holiday Season
Your support of the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB) will help to create a meaningful impact in empowering families in need to create Christmas experiences for their kids through the generosity of the community.
Last year, because of the generous support from our community, the LMCB helped almost 1,000 low-income families in Vancouver and provided gifts to more than 2,000 kids. In addition, the generosity of the community enabled us to distribute over 100,000 toys to bureaus and agencies across the Lower Mainland.
Making a financial donation through Canada Helps provides us with the needed flexibility to operate our year-round warehouse as well as purchase gifts for children and grocery store gift cards for families in need.