Front to back, SOS Christmas program co-ordinator Elizabeth Nicol with volunteers Elaine Eddy, Suzanne Chaddock, Janet Smukowich, Judy Colhoun and Louise Patrick in the SOS Toy Shop. - Lissa Alexander photo

SOS: Coming together to make Christmas brighter

Group hopes to reach monetary goal of $110,000

It takes a community effort to make sure our vulnerable residents are taken care of at Christmas time.

This year, 140 volunteers have come together to help deliver the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program.

The volunteers work in 12 different areas, from registering clients for the program, picking up toys from local businesses, to walking parents through the Toy Shop to help them select that special gift their child has been asking for.

“Our volunteers are amazing,” said SOS Christmas program co-ordinator, Elizabeth Nicol. “They come to us full of enthusiasm and kindness, and set to work making Christmas brighter for others.”

The need in Parksville Qualicum Beach has continued to grow in the last decade, and every year SOS has seen more families and individuals struggling to make ends meet. This year the numbers for the Christmas program look similar to last year, Nicol explained, which saw 1,248 children receive gifts, and 1,146 adults receive local grocery store gift cards, so they could choose food that was important to them over the holidays.

SOS began offering registrations from its Qualicum Beach location a few years ago, and Nicol said the number of people accessing registration from that location continues to grow.

Parents, caregivers and grandparents started going through the SOS Toy Shop to select gifts on Dec. 13 this year, and they will continue to visit the Toy Shop until SOS closes on Dec. 21.

Nicol said the amount of toys that have come in this year has been incredible.

“We’re so thankful to the groups who held events to help fill our Toy Shop, and everyone who supported those events. Our amazing Angel Tree businesses and their supporters really came through again this year, and it was so nice to see so many individuals come into the SOS Community Services Centre with gifts.”

Nicol is hopeful SOS will reach its monetary goal of $110,000 this year, which covers the cost of the grocery store gift cards for everyone who registers for the program. So far the total raised is $96,390.

To support the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program, donate online at www.sosd69.com, call 250-248-2093 or drop into the SOS Community Services Centre during business hours.

— Submitted by Lissa Alexander

Just Posted

Parksville powerlifter qualifies for world championships

Buhler sets personal bests in both raw and equipped lifting events

Wires left dangling after van crashes into hydro pole in Dashwood

Road closed while BC Hydro crews dealt with situation

Police go on hunt for distracted drivers in Parksville Qualicum Beach

One motorist ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt and using a cellphone while driving

Motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash west of Whiskey Creek

Witnesses say three vehicles involved in collision; man in 70s confirmed dead

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

Illegal cannabis club in Port Alberni ticketed again

RCMP seize cannabis, issue fine for second time in five months

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Most Read