SOS hopes to make wishes come true for children and youth this holiday season thanks to community support.. (Submitted photo)

SOS hopes to make wishes come true for children and youth this holiday season thanks to community support.. (Submitted photo)

Fulfilling Christmas wishes for Parksville Qualicum Beach youngsters

‘I’ve saved all these years, I can afford it, so why wouldn’t I do it?’

By Lissa Alexander

Janet doesn’t have children of her own but she still spends hundreds of dollars on toys and gadgets this time of year.

“It brings me a great amount of joy to do that,” says the Parksville Qualicum Beach resident, whose name has been changed so she can remain anonymous. “I’ve saved all these years, I can afford it, so why wouldn’t I do it?”

Janet spent about $1,400 on gifts at Red Apple, and then headed over to The Source and purchased hundreds of dollars worth of gifts for teenagers, before dropping them off at SOS for the Caring for Community at Christmas program. She says she can’t imagine how upsetting it must be for parents who are struggling and can’t afford any gifts for their children, so she wanted to help ease that burden.

The SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program provides special gifts to local children and youth, and grocery store gift cards to families and individuals so they can choose food that is important to them over the holidays.

Rhonda has been on the receiving end of the SOS Christmas program and can attest to the special moments the gifts help create for families.

“The program is very helpful as I tend to struggle a lot,” she said. (Her name has been changed to protect her identity.)

Rhonda said Christmas is not all about gifts in her home, but she was able to select some nice things from the SOS Toy Shop and her three children really liked them.

“It made Christmas better because they had things under the tree, and my youngest loves opening things, so it was awesome,” she said.

She was also able to buy all the ingredients for a “nice, big” Christmas dinner, something she would not have been otherwise able to afford.

Janet said she hopes her gifts make a difference to local families this Christmas.

“I hope it makes them happy. I hope it lights up their eyes and makes them smile,” she said.

READ MORE: Sweet initiative to support Parksville Qualicum Beach residents

Families in need will make their way through the SOS Toy Shop throughout the month of December. In order to provide gifts for all the participants who register for the program, SOS hopesfor the community’s help in restocking the Toy Shop.

Red Apple has been hosting a Toy Drive for SOS since Nov. 15, and held its Annual Fill a Sleigh Day for SOS on Dec. 5. Although some changes had to be made to the in-store event due to the pandemic, Red Apple was on target last week to surpass last year’s gifts and financial donations, more than $3,000, said store manager Patricia McQuay.

“We’ve been very busy,” she said, adding that last year on Fill the Sleigh Day, Red Apple donated 10 per cent of total toy sales to SOS, and this year it would be donating 10 per cent of all store sales that day.

SOS executive director Susanna Newton said she is very grateful to Red Apple and all the shoppers and residents who have generously contributed to the SOS Christmas program in what has been a very difficult year.

“We know that these wonderful contributions will make such a positive impact in our community this Christmas,” she said.

SOS also hopes to raise $125,00 to provide grocery store gift cards to all families, seniors and adults who register for the program. To make a financial donation, visit the SOS website at, call 250-248-2093, drop by the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville, or mail a cheque to SOS at 245 West Hirst Ave., PO Box 898, Parksville BC, V9P 2G9.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Charity and DonationsParksvillequalicum beach

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

Just Posted

The intersection of Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street, where a child was struck and injured in November 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
High-traffic Parksville intersection to get temporary 4-way stop

City staff to monitor effectiveness of traffic-calming measure at Despard and Moilliet

A Parksville Fire Department’s firefighter hoses down the facade of a Parksville Heritage Centre building after it caught fire on Friday afternoon (April 16). (Michael Briones photo)
Fire crews, roofers work to douse building fire in Parksville

Damage was minimal and workers escaped injury

Cast and crew of the Hallmark Channel series ‘Chesapeake Shores’ as they film at Parksville beach on April 15, 2021. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fifth season of ‘Chesapeake Shores’ looks to showcase Parksville Qualicum Beach region

Executive producer: ‘We’re really excited for the fans to experience the fifth season’

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Nanaimo flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read