If you want to know what Sooke is all about, all you have to do is get involved with the Sooke Christmas Bureau.
“We have so many people coming out to help in their own way. There isn’t a service group in the community that doesn’t come together to lend a hand,” said Lori Molesky, spokesperson for the bureau.
“We just couldn’t do what we do without all that help.”
It’s the 25th year of operation for the Sooke Christmas Bureau and Molesky said her organization has partnered with CFAX Santas Anonymous to ensure every family in need of help in the Sooke region gets help in the form of food hampers and toys for the little ones.
“The one thing we need to draw attention to is that Santas Anonymous has moved up its application deadline this year and that people have to get their applications in by Nov. 15. We want to make sure that no one is missed so we’re asking that plication forms are filled out and returned as soon as possible,” said Molesky.
Forms for Santas Anonymous are available online at http//cfaxsantas.com/christmas/hampers/applications/ or at the Food Bank, Sooke Family Resource Centre or the Crisis Centre. Forms can also be dropped off at these locations.
Another part of the Christmas Bureau tradition is the annual Santa Run. That’s when the fire services of Sooke, East Sooke and Otter Point hit the road to collect non-perishable food donations that are then used to make up the more than 400 food hampers distributed by the Sooke Christmas Bureau.
“That’s become a real Christmas tradition, a sort of parade where they go house to house to gather donations. The kids look forward to it and it is just so wonderful to see the generosity of the people of Sooke as they contribute to the program,” said Molesky.
She added that every service group and several businesses in the community also contribute their efforts to make the work of the Sooke Christmas Bureau a success.
“The legion does an amazing job, as do the Lions and the Harbourside Lions Club. We also have a web of private sponsors and, in the past, we’ve had businesses like the 17 Mile Pub collect toys to make sure that no child is left out at Christmas.”
Molesky explained that there is no means test applied for people applying for hampers at Christmas and that the process is one of self-assessment.
“We’re not going to ask a lot of questions or ask people to prove that they need help. That’s just not what we’re about.”
The core group of about 10 volunteers manage to collect about 80,000 dollars worth of food for the program as well as cash donations and toys.
“We’re just working to make sure that no family is forgotten this Christmas. That’s the sort of community Sooke is.”