Around Town: Christmas Toy Shop, hampers to Lytton, SUMS hygiene centre

From left: Joy Warren, Neisy Castillo, Julia Durante and Debby Yang offer Christmas cheer at the Toy Shop.

This will be my last weekly update for 2022, so Merry Christmas to everyone, and see you in the New Year!

Christmas Toy Shop

Boundless Vancouver (Salvation Army) offers a wide range of community services, all year long. But they go the extra mile at Christmas time,

Probably their most attractive project is the Toy Shop, which allows people to select gifts at their leisure from a well-stocked showroom.

Participants make an appointment and go to the Fraser Street office (just south of Kingsway).

After registration is complete, they can spend time in the nearby Christmas Toy Shop (not in the office), which is indeed well stocked with toys. As you walk in a circle around the shop, the gifts are arranged by size and age suitability.

Debby Yang guided me around the shop.

During the brief time I was at the Salvation Army storefront office, people knocked on the door every few minutes, often about the Toy Shop – a young mother, two slightly older women, a father . . .

Many groups support the work, including UBC students from Sauder JDC West and students from the S.i. Systems team, who volunteered at the Toy Shop Drive at ToysRUs (both are thanked on the Boundless Vancouver Facebook page).

Neisy Castillo with gifts suitable for babies to eight years old.

Churches such as Koinonia Evangelical Church in Richmond are also active supporters, having collected 355 toys, of this type:

  • Educational toys
  • LEGO for all ages
  • Sporting goods for teens
  • Electronics (eg, earbuds, small wi-fi speakers)

Among the other planned events at Boundless are:

  • Dec 18: FIFA World Cup final live, with food
  • Dec 20: Karaoke & cookie decorating
  • Dec 21: Movie & craft afternoon
  • Dec 22: Breakfast for dinner

Boundless posted on Facebook December 14 that “The Salvation Army Boundless Vancouver relies heavily on our kettles to help fund our community and family services.”

Hampers to Lytton

Loading up at Fraser Lands Church for a delivery of hampers to Lytton.

Several churches have not forgotten the people of Lytton, and they have made that particularly clear during this Christmas season.

  • Fraser Lands Church

Fraser Lands Church in southeast Vancouver has been steadfast in supporting the devastated community of Lytton.

Nicholas Lai, Vice Chair of the elders board, emailed me recently:

It has been 18 months since our church started our ‘Help for Lytton’ ministry in July 2021. During this period, we have made 19 trips to Lytton/Merritt and Camp Hope.

In addition to the countless supplies of food, cleaning and household items, pet food, clothing etc, we have prepared and donated Christmas hampers and Easter gift boxes.

We also provided help at several Lytton community events, including the one-year commemoration of the wildfire on June 30.

Dropping off hampers in Lytton. We just delivered 200 Christmas hampers to the students and staff of Stein Valley Nlakapamux School and Kumsheen School in Lytton on Wednesday December 7.

Included in the hamper distribution are Nzen’man Daycare, Nzen’man Child and Development Program and Women’s Transition House.

We have also presented Christmas hampers to the newly elected Mayor and Council of Lytton. Our plan is to continue our support to Lytton in their rebuilding. We are in this for the long haul.

Compared to last year, the road and weather conditions were good. Each hamper is filled with goodies such as a gingerbread house, games, snacks etc. to help the families to celebrate Christmas.

Capstan Alliance Church in Richmond has helped out on several of the delivery trips to Lytton.

  • SouthRidge Fellowship Church

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The Vancouver Sun posted an article December 10:

It took hundreds of volunteers from two Langley churches and one high school two days to pack 550 hampers for Lytton families who are still living out of suitcases in nearby communities almost 18 months after a wildfire burnt the village to the ground.

The gifts arrived Thursday afternoon on the back of a 53-foot semi-truck in time for families to enjoy together this Christmas. . . .

“The people of Lytton have no groceries stores, nothing. They have to drive two hours to Kamloops to shop for anything,” said Pastor Paul Olson of SouthRidge Fellowship Church, which facilitated the charitable initiative.

“We wanted them not to have to worry about that this holiday season.”

Early in the week, the sanctuary of the Murrayville church turned into a bustling warehouse of more than 22,000 kilograms of edible stock – from soup to oats, cookies, pasta and cereal.

More than 150 students at the nearby Langley Christian High School and dozens from Northwest Langley Baptist Church helped put together the hampers. Each contained groceries worth $100. . . .

SouthRidge churchgoers donated more than $55,000 for the hampers.

Go here for the full story. CTV News also featured the story, December 9.

New SUMS facility

CBC News reported December 9 on a new facility run by a Christian ministry in the centre of Whalley:

People experiencing homelessness in Surrey are getting access to new washrooms, showers and laundry services with the opening of a new temporary modular facility.

The Healthy Living Complex of Care, located at the Cove Shelter site at 10607 King George Boulevard, officially opened on November 24.

“We believe that it’s been necessary for a very long time,” said Mike Musgrove, executive director of the Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS), the organization operating the facility. . . .

The facility is one of six initiatives in the Pandemic Response Package funded by the federal government’s Safe Restart Agreement, administered through the Union of B.C. Municipalities’  Strengthening Communities’ Services Program to create temporary programming in support of people experiencing homelessness in the city.

Go here for the full article.

The SUMS outreach team at the facility also provides other aid, such as applying for income assistance and seeking treatment.

In the accompanying video (which is quite moving), Musgrove points out that SUMS serves three meals a day and runs a 50-bed shelter. He said:

There is no way that I would’ve thought we would go from a few meals a week and a breakfast outdoors to a full-time shelter, a hub for services in the city, 19 meals a week. We would’ve just never done this, we would’ve never set this as goals.

We would’ve underestimated what the Lord has done. If I do not commit this to Christ, then it is going to fail. We are just one small part in the body of Christ. I think that we as a church need to again become responsible for caring for the poor, but I think that our call is greater than that.

Christ has called us to get to know the poor, not just from a distance throw money at them, but actually touch them. Christ touched; it was revolutionary what he did. . . .

Christmas events

Check below for a wide range of good Christmas concerts and gatherings.

Dec 2022

CityReach: Boxes of Love – December 15, 2022 - December 17, 2022 at All Day
Used Book Sale – December 15, 2022 - December 23, 2022 at 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Community Christmas Dinner – December 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Winter Harp – December 15, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:45 pm
The Messiah – December 15, 2022 - December 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Christmas With Chor Leoni (six shows) – December 16, 2022 - December 19, 2022 at All Day
Carols in the City – December 16, 2022 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
CLF Vancouver Christmas Banquet – December 16, 2022 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Christmas by Candlelight – December 16, 2022 at 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Home for the Holidays – December 16, 2022 - December 17, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Christmas by Candlelight – December 16, 2022 at 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Dundarave Festival of Lights (Saturday concerts) – December 17, 2022 at All Day
Light the Way Christmas Concert (three events) – December 17, 2022 - December 18, 2022 at All Day
Christmas Reprise XIX at Holy Rosary Cathedral – December 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Jubilate Vocal Ensemble: A Festive Offering – December 17, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 17, 2022 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
North Shore Community Christmas Dinner (volunteer opportunities) – December 17, 2022 at 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Brian Doerksen presents 'The Heart of Christmas' – December 17, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Reprise XIX at Queens Avenue United Church – December 17, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Festive Cantatas: J.B. Bach Magnificat – December 17, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Festive Cantatas: J.B. Bach Magnificat – December 18, 2022 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Brian Doerksen presents 'The Heart of Christmas' – December 18, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Tales – December 20, 2022 - December 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Christmas Presence – December 20, 2022 - December 22, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Blue Christmas Service – December 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Longest Night of the Year – December 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Premiere Screening of Story Guild Documentary Film, The Great Power, with Christmas After Party – December 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Winter Harp – December 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Ilhan Saferali & Friends do Charlie Brown's Christmas – December 21, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas in Versailles – December 23, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service – December 24, 2022 at 7:00 am - 8:00 am
Christmas Day Service – December 25, 2022 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
60th Canada Chinese Christian Winter Conference – December 27, 2022 - December 31, 2022 at All Day
Worship Invasion New Years Eve Praise Party! – December 31, 2022 at 9:00 pm - 11:45 pm
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