Three branches of the Prospera Credit Union in Abbotsford are hosting the Youth Angel Tree Project.
Christmas trees have been set up in the branches with cards featuring holiday wishes from more than 90 youth, who were referred to the program by Abbotsford Community Services.
Residents are invited to take a card from the tree, purchase a new gift for the youth, and bring it back unwrapped to the credit union by Dec. 15.
Brenda Monk, Prospera’s regional branch manager, said many of the kids ask for unexpected items.
“They’re asking for a pair of shoes, some pyjamas or a grocery store card to buy food; things that we pretty much take for granted and assume everyone can afford,” she said.
Simone Maassen, manager of Youth Services for Abbotsford Community Services, said the holidays can be a stressful and depressing time for some young people.
“Knowing that there are caring, kind people willing to help someone they don’t even know gives them a sense of hope and that goes a long way to keeping them motivated and engaged in helping themselves,” she said.
The program, now in its third year, has expanded from one location to three: the Abbotsford branch at 34630 DeLair Rd., the West Oaks branch at 32700 South Fraser Way and the Clearbrook branch at 32071 South Fraser Way.