The 2011 Sooke Christmas Bureau kicked off Nov. 25. From left: Barry Gifford

Christmas Bureau kick off

Charitable organization brings help to the less fortunate in Sooke and area

What started as a single can of soup collected by the fire department 15 Christmases ago has turned into literally more foodstuffs that they can fit into a giant dump truck.

As part of the Sooke Christmas Bureau campaign, a committee that forms prior to every Christmas to help local families in need, the Sooke Fire Department is running its annual holiday initiative to collect food and cash donations.

“It was hugely successful last year. We filled two big construction trailers with food,” said Fire Chief Steve Sorensen.

He said the first year firefighters didn’t even have the idea of soliciting donations, they were just out giving away candy canes when someone handed over some soup. The chief thought “hey, this is a good idea.”

The first two weekends in December from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the department, along with RCMP and ambulance staff, will be outside the entrance to both Village Food Markets and Western Foods collecting non-perishable food items — things like canned fish and meats, peanut butter, pasta and cereal are in high demand (no expired items please). In the third weekend on Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at the same times there will be an open house at the fire hall. People can drive inside, hand their donations to volunteers, and drive out the back without leaving their cars.

Finally, on Dec. 17 firefighters will go on their Santa Run — fire trucks will be decorated and driven around town once again handing out Christmas candy and collecting one final round of food. Special paper bags with route information will be distributed with the Dec. 14 issue of the Sooke News Mirror.

“Otter Point and East Sooke fire do it in their areas (as well),” said Sorensen.

After that, all the food is taken to be sorted at the community hall the following day. It is then combined with other items like turkeys and fresh vegetables to complete the ingredients for a good dinner, put into hampers and then are ready for pick up by registered families on Dec. 21, said Barry Gifford, president of the Christmas Bureau. Last year, 410 hampers were given out.

The bureau will also have their own food and cash donation bins scattered around town at the T-Sou-ke Nation craft sale on Dec. 3. They will be at the Chamber of Commerce’s Santa Parade on Dec. 4, and people can also mail cheques to: Sooke Christmas Bureau, P.O. Box 983, Sooke, B.C. V9Z 1H9.

“Funds go towards paying for what’s required for the hampers (in addition to non-perishables),” said Gifford. Any leftover food will be redistributed to the food bank in the new year.

The goal in 2011 is to raise $25,000. The cost to put together all the hampers costs about $18,000, he said. Families can register to be eligible to receive a hamper until Dec. 9 at noon. Application forms are available at the Sooke Youth, Child and Family Centre (CASA — 2145 Townsend Rd.), the Sooke Food Bank Society (Thursdays at the community hall from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. — 2037 Shields Rd.), Work Link (Sooke Works — 6625 Sooke Rd.)and the Sooke Crisis and Referral Centre (2043 Church Rd.)

The Christmas Bureau is looking for volunteers on Dec. 19, 20 and 21 to sort, build and distribute hampers at the community hall. To apply, or for more information, call 250-642-1534 and leave your name and phone number.

Just Posted

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Jordan River is his home and he’s working to save it

Wayne Jackaman’s own mining background put to use to help save Jordan River

Victoria teen killed by falling tree remembered as hero

Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling towards him and his friends

Langford liquor store targeted by thieves twice in one night

West Shore RCMP seek to identify break and enter suspect

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read