Community groups banking on your help By Oona Woods The Whistler Food Bank and the Lil'wat Christmas Bureau are both launching seasonal appeals for donations in the run up to Christmas. Whistler Community Services Society's Janet McDonald explains that it's an important time of year for these appeals. "The food bank donations that we get at Christmas keep us going for most of the next year. We really rely on that." Along with the focus on the food bank the community services society is also concentrating on raising money and food donations for Christmas hamper programs. "In October and November we see a lot of young people who have just shelled out for rent and damage deposits and haven't realized they may not start working until December. Then they have to wait for that first cheque," says McDonald. "But as Christmas approaches we focus more on families. There are about 20 families in Whistler that we assist." McDonald explains that the people who are helped need assistance for a variety of reasons. "They may be new single parents, the working poor in Whistler, they may not have family near by or they may not have family at all. We want to give them the Christmas that we think everyone should have." Whistler Community Services Society notes that while there are a number of fund-raising activities at this time of year, any fund-raisers that the society is involved with will have the Whistler Community Services Society banner or a representative present. If anyone has questions about whether the community services society is involved in a fund-raiser, feel free to call the society, at 932-0113. The Lil'wat Christmas Bureau is asking for donations this year in the hope that it will be able to assist at least as many people as it did in 1996. "It was very rewarding to offer 120 hampers last year," says co-ordinator Rachel Andrew. "We are asking for all kinds of donations including monetary donations, clothing, new toys, food for hampers, turkeys, boxes, gift items, wrapping paper, volunteer time for wrapping delivering and so on. Also a few businesses have been a part of our Sponsor a Family program. They provide everything needed for a specific family and deliver them personally." McDonald points out that there are a number of ways people can donate. "IGA has turkey vouchers. If people want to donate their turkey vouchers to us they can. We are also working on a program with Nesters where people can donate their Nesters points. If people want to give us cash that would mean we can be more flexible in terms of buying kids what they actually want for Christmas." In terms of the food bank McDonald has a wish list. "We always want staple foods, non-perishable. Actually we do want peanut butter, tuna, pasta sauce, brown beans and rice. We're pretty much okay for soups and KD and we have a big stock of kidney beans — lots of kidney beans. We're also fine for lentils and chick peas." If you want to deliver your cans of tuna and peanut butter to the appeal you can bring them along to tonight's (Dec. 12) Christmas Carol Service at Our Lady of the Mountains church, or you can leave donations at Nesters and IGA. Cash donations and cheques are taken at the community service offices in Myrtle Philip school. In an effort to make it even easier to donate there will be a special van parked outside Grabbajabba in Marketplace between Dec. 15 and 19, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mountain FM will be on the scene providing coverage and drawing spot prizes from local businesses for donations. On Dec. 20 you can get a photo with Santa in the Marketplace if you donate to the appeal. The Lil'wat Christmas Bureau also has a number of donation points in Whistler. "We will have drop-off centres at the Whistler North Shore Credit Union, Mount Currie Band Office or the Mount Currie Health Centre," says Andrew. "We have accounts at the NSCU and Bank of Nova Scotia for deposits if you would like to do that, however, we don't get information on who deposited unless you inform us at 604-894-6656." The Lil’wat Christmas Bureau thank all contributors in the local papers in January.