Four key players of this year’s Christmas Bureau came together on a rainy afternoon. From left to right: Deb Schenk (Harbourside Lions)

Four key players of this year’s Christmas Bureau came together on a rainy afternoon. From left to right: Deb Schenk (Harbourside Lions)

Christmas Bureau begins its work

Local volunteers gather donations for annual Christmas hampers

It’s baa-aack. Every year the Christmas Bureau in Sooke sets up and begins to collect donations for those who could use a hand at Christmas time. This year, kicking off this Friday, the Christmas giving begins again in Sooke.

Christmas support is no longer something for the unemployed. It’s crawling reach impacts the relatively new category of the working poor.

“Apparently, the food bank is up 16 per cent in their need,” said Pat Phillips, the public relations contact for the Christmas Bureau, in speaking about the growing number of the working poor. “They are now servicing 450 household a month.” These numbers were confirmed by Ingrid Johnson, the president of the Sooke Food Bank.

Earlier this year in May, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and A Living Wage for Families announced the 2013 calculations for living wages. In the Greater Victoria area, which includes Sooke, the minimum livable wage works out to be $18.73, assuming a Cleaver-like family of four with two working adults.

The steady degradation of wages, in part, accounts for the regular annual increase in recipients.

The Christmas Bureau is a seasonal extension of Sooke’s Food Bank, and is graciously supported by the District of Sooke, the Fire Rescue Service, volunteers, and the community at large.

Giving made easy

In collaboration with the Sooke Fire Rescue Services, the Christmas Bureau campaign kicks off at 1 p.m. on Friday, November 22, in front of both Village Food Market and Western Foods. The campaign will run full force on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the culminating event, the Annual Santa Run on Saturday, December 14.

Food items desperately needed include carrots, apples and onions by the bag, canned fruit, canned cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and canned tomato sauce. An $8,000 grant from the District of Sooke will go towards purchasing Christmas turkeys. All other donations, including cash, will also be gratefully received. This year, the Bureau is aspiring to match last year’s total of $25,000.

The Sooke Harbourside Lions will continue to collect news toys in colourful Christmas boxes placed throughout the business community in Sooke, and the Sooke Lioness will be supporting all efforts of the campaign as well.

The Annual Santa Run is when a fully- decorated fire truck drives around in Sooke starting at 5 p.m., collecting donations. Paper bags are distributed in the Sooke News Mirror before this run, enabling easy collection of non-perishables. The fire truck does sound its siren, alerting residents to its arrival. If you think you may have missed it, Fire Chief Steve Sorensen said you can call the station (non-emergency number 250-642-5422). They can let you know where the truck is at, and if you have indeed missed it, they can arrange to have your donations picked up.

Signing up to receive

Applications can be picked up in Sooke at three locations: The Sooke Family Resource Society (locally referred to as CASA,  (open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), the Sooke Food Bank (open on the first, second and third Thursdays of each month from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ), and the Sooke Crisis Centre (open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Completed forms must be in by December 6 in order to receive a Christmas hamper. Hampers will be available for pickup at the Sooke Community Hall on December 21, starting at 9:30 a.m.

This year, C-FAX’s Santa’s Anonymous has extended their assistance to our area as they have recognized the plight of the Sooke Christmas Bureau. Not only will Santa’s Anonymous be supplying food hampers but toys as well, to approximately 200 families with children, from East Sooke to Port Renfrew. The remaining single or childless families will receive hampers from the Sooke Christmas Bureau.

Volunteers still needed

Donations will be collected in front of Village Food Markets, Western Foods, and Shoppers Drug Mart. The Christmas Bureau is seeking volunteers to assist with the food collection (up until December 14), sorters ( up until December 21) and distributers (on December 21).

“The shifts are reasonable, and fun is guaranteed,” writes Pat Phillips in a press release. The Sooke Lionesses will be there to serve a lunch to the volunteers on December 20 and the 21.

The Harbourside Lions will be on hand to provide warm drinks, lots of laughter, and big hearts on distribution day.

Those interested in volunteering with food collection can call the Fire Chief Sorensen, at 250-642-1630. Those interested in sorting can call Lynne Bruhn at 250-642-1534

Supporting events

Also raising money and donations for the Sooke Christmas Bureau is the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra. The Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players will be performing with the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus for their Christmas Carol Sing-along. Wade Noble will be conducting the “Season’s Splendour” on Saturday, November 30 at the Sooke Baptist Church. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m., and a portion from every ticket sold will go towards their Christmas fundraising activities.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

Langford and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance are partnering to provide local businesses with one-year Island Good memberships. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance)
Langford offering local businesses free Island Good membership

Island Good label helps consumers identify local products

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Saanich parks staff will be applying a herbicide called Garlon XRT in Sayward Hill Park between Jan. 18 to 29 to control the invasive species English holly and hawthorn. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Herbicide used to target ‘priority’ invasive species in Saanich park

Treatment applied to English holly, hawthorn stumps, in Sayward Hill Park

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Most Read