By Clare Ogilvie
For many the thought of Christmas brings a smile to the lips and joy to the heart.
But for some it can be a challenging time as parents, especially, wonder how they can afford to provide a special Christmas dinner and toys under the tree.
That’s why Whistler Community Services Society works tirelessly at this time of the year to help out through the Santa’s Helpers program, which provides gift certificates for food to needy families and presents for kids who might otherwise go without.
“It can be very stressful, especially for single parents,” said WCSS executive director Janet McDonald.
The organization is looking for both sponsors and families in need right now.
Individuals, groups of friends, office staff, indeed anyone who wants to help, can give donations to the organization or can sponsor a family with gifts or money.
A large family is $260 to sponsor while a small one is $180. The money goes towards the food certificates and presents for the kids.
McDonald accepts it is hard for families to come forward sometimes as there is still some stigma attached to asking for help.
But, she said: “None of us ever know when we might be in a position to need to step forward for a bit of help and we want to say (to families that) they shouldn’t (worry) about looking for help.”
All the families’ details are kept confidential.
This time of the year is also when the local food bank lays in its stores to last through to the spring. Nesters and Marketplace IGA have food boxes available and McDonald asks that shoppers spare a thought for those in need and drop in some non-perishable items as they leave the stores.
Much needed are peanut butter, tuna, pasta sauce, pasta, and cereal.
Stores are also providing notes on shelves under food bank items to remind shoppers what is of most help.
For more information on how to help this Christmas or to make a donation call 604-932-0113 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also phone the Re-Use It Centre and donate using your credit card over the phone.