Santa ditched his sleigh for a less airborne mode of transportation on Sunday, Dec. 10 as part of the Fill the Bus Christmas charity campaign.
“My name’s Sean, er, I mean, St. Nick. I’m still getting into character,” said VIP Whistler owner Sean Wells while decked out in his Santa suit.
For the second year, the local transportation company is partnering with the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) to raise money and donations for children in need. The bus will be travelling through Whistler today picking up food — Christmas dinner fixings are needed — and gifts for children 17 and under.
Last year’s drive raised around $1,200 and filled up two-thirds of the bus.
“This year we’re trying to fill up more and get a few more monetary donations,” Wells said, explaining how cash donations go far at WCSS, as the local non-profit gets wholesale pricing on food items. “It’s for the kids who are underprivileged or aren’t having a great Christmas or a good year, this will put a lot of smiles on their faces.”
Co-organizer Sheena Harrington spoke about how giving back is crucial in a community where so many find themselves away from loved ones at this time of year.
“Because Whistler is so transient, we have to come together and make it a community,” she said. “All the people who’ve been here, short or long term, come together to make sure everyone feels at home.”
Along with cash and food donations, Harrington said gifts for older kids are especially needed.
“I find everyone, when they think about giving gifts, they think about little kids. So presents for teens (would be helpful),” she explained.
The VIP Whistler bus started off from the Hi-Whistler Hostel in Cheakamus this morning, before heading to Creekside Market from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.; the Whistler Public Library in the village from 2 to 3 p.m., and at Meadow Park from 3 to 4 p.m.
Jolly ole’ St. Nick will be pouring hot chocolate and handing out Christmas cookies to contributors at each stop along the way.