The Youth Angel Tree Project at Prospera Credit Union this year collected gifts for more than 70 youths who are connected to the Youth Resource Centre at Archway Community Services.
This is the eighth year that Prospera has collected and organized gifts for youth and families who struggle financially.
The gifts were picked up Tuesday (Dec. 17) by Archway staff to begin delivering to their clients.
Earlier this month, trees that featured holiday wishes from the youths were set up at Prospera branches.
Prospera members, staff and Abbotsford residents purchased gifts for the youths and then staff assembled and wrapped them.
“Prospera staff look forward to the Angel Tree program each year,” said Steven Lang, Prospera’s regional director for the Fraser Valley.
He said many of the young people ask for unexpected items, such as new shoes or grocery store cards.
“By participating in this program, we can make a positive impact on the lives of the youth and their families. We hope to show them the good in others and inspire them to have a positive impact on those around them,” Lang said.
Some of the youths who receive the presents come from single-parent homes or are single parents themselves, are in foster care, or have aged out of care and might not have a place to go at Christmas.
“Our youth are not used to getting gifts, so they don’t even know what to ask for most of the time,” said Brandy Sundstrom, a youth support worker at Archway.
“As a program, we aren’t able to buy gifts for our youth, but we know how alone they are, how little they have, and how much little things really do make a difference for them.”
One of the past recipients shared: “Some of us spend Christmas alone, so it means a lot to me to know that someone else cares enough to do that for me.”