SOS Executive Director Renate Sutherland stands in the SOS Toy Shop

Getting gifts for teens in Parksville Qualicum Beach

SOS Christmas Campaign needs your help so it can help the needy of the region

  • Dec. 16, 2014 12:00 p.m.

LISSA ALEXANDER

Special to The NEWS

Wendy Reimer remembers using white tissue paper as a child to wrap up gifts for people in need.

Her family would take whatever they could spare at Christmas time, wrap it, and then deliver it to their church for distribution.

“Back then people didn’t have much to give,” said Reimer, who is the outreach committee co-chair at Knox United Church. “They would bring a can of soup or a can of beans and put that under the tree.”

The tradition, called White Gift Sunday, has been carried on for many years at congregations within the United Church of Canada, as well other Christian denominations. According to the website of St. John’s United Church in New Brunswick, a minister’s wife initiated the idea in Ohio in 1904 to solve the problem of inequity of gifts given at a Sunday school Christmas party.  Instead of focusing on receiving gifts, the focus would be on bringing gifts to Jesus which would in turn be shared with people around the world who didn’t have much.  All the gifts would come wrapped in plain white paper, so that no one would know which was an expensive gift and which was a more modest one.

Reimer participated in White Gift Sunday as a child growing up in North Vancouver, and now she helps coordinate it at Knox United Church in Parksville. White Gift Sunday was Dec. 7 at Knox United Church this year. Church members brought new, unwrapped gifts for the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program, which will be used to stock the SOS Toy Shop, where low-income parents, guardians and grandparents in this area come to shop for their children for free.

To donate to the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program visit www.sosd69.com, call 250-248-2093 or drop by 245 West Hirst Ave. Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This year, Knox United Church members accessed a list of gifts for teens which were identified as in-demand in the SOS Toy Shop.

“People were quite enthusiastic to help because they knew what kids needed,” said Reimer.

As a result, Reimer and her husband Don delivered bags and bags of gifts for teenagers to the SOS last week, including trendy hats and scarfs, Axe body products, gifts cards, and also gifts for younger children. “This will really help us give some great gift options to parents and caregivers with teenagers in the area,” said SOS Christmas Coordinator Renee Caulder.

The SOS is still collecting new, unwrapped gifts for the program, while also trying to raise $115,000 in cash in order to meet the needs of all local residents who registered in the Christmas program this year. Besides gifts for children, the SOS provides families and individuals with grocery store gift cards so they can look forward to a special meal over the holidays. “I think it’s great SOS does this,” said Reimer. “It’s so needed, and it’s just as hard for teens not to get anything at Christmas as it is for little kids.”

Just Posted

Potty Mouth artist creating Funky Fungus

Parksville-Qualicum’s Carmen Lutz has people chuckling with her hand-made, rustic mugs

Qualicum Beach charity hosts fundraiser for Guatemalan students

Aldea Maya has been working in the Central American country since 2012

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

More Parksville pop-up water parks planned

Fire department says Sunday, Aug. 18 next one on the agenda

Hi Neighbour Day celebrates 50th year in Errington

Pancake breakfast, parade, zucchini race and more planned for this years’ festivities

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read