Empty Storage Bottom: Christmas Bureau makes sure kids of all ages find something fun under the tree

Throughout the year, the Lower Mainland Christmas Office collects toys from individual donors and businesses.

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Santa’s elves are busier than usual this year at the Lower Continent Christmas Office (LMCB).


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“We are dispatching 10 local offices and five have been affected by the weather,” says Chris Bayliss, executive director of the East Vancouver facility.

Throughout the year, the LMCB collects toys from individual donors and companies. And every year, around this time, they send three and five ton trucks to agencies and offices throughout the Lower Continent. These trucks are full of toys that go to families in need.

“We are the regional hub for 14 to 16 offices per year,” says Bayliss. “Each office has its own program, but our big events, like Toy Mountain and Kruise for the Kids, are held throughout the region. We collect all the toys at those events, we count them, we sort them and then we send them to the offices. “

Offices are in Maple Ridge, Burnaby, Mission, Surrey and include the Salvation Army Vancouver and the Salvation Army New West.


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“Then we sent Chilliwack, which is a challenge to enter. Agassiz-Harrison is a challenge to enter. Hope is on hold.”

In addition to collecting, organizing and shipping to other agencies, the LMCB also provides families in Vancouver with what Bayliss calls “the complete experience. They pre-register online, they come with their paperwork, we process them, we give them a food gift card, a new primary toy, some socks, a book, new and used clothes. “

Sock fillers include stuffed animals and books. The main toy is something a little more exciting under the tree.

Letting the parent or parents choose the main gift themselves adds dignity to the process, he says.

Sadly, and this happens year after year, there is no shortage of stuffed animals.


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“People have good intentions. They like to buy toys for the little ones, the preschoolers. So we see a lot of preschool toys like stuffed animals. They take up a lot of physical space. They have value for comfort, but very little play value and little educational value. We have been pushing science and mechanical toys, toys that are attractive and make you think, but still fun. “

The LMCB collects toys throughout the year.

“We never close. We have a lot of individual donors, a lot of companies that do toy drives for us. We have companies that help us financially every year. We have companies that volunteer to sort toys. It is part of their tradition ”.

Another tradition is the help of the Empty Stocking Fund, which is supported by the readers of The Province.

“The ESF supports so many offices and agencies,” says Bayliss. “Someone has to pay for the cost of the gift cards, for the overhead. These are the costs of doing business. And it helps us. One hundred thousand toys donated at a time in the second week of December will not arrive in time at 10 or 15 offices. So someone has to have the infrastructure and year-round support for us to accept things. “



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