Abbotsford Christmas Bureau sets $700,000 goal

The Abbotsford Community Services’ (ACS) Food Bank and Christmas Bureau has increased its fundraising goal this year by $200,000.

Laura Balzer (left) and Heidi Gill

The Abbotsford Community Services’ (ACS) Food Bank and Christmas Bureau has increased its fundraising goal this year by $200,000.

Co-ordinator Dave Murray said the organization is aiming to raise $700,000, which will enable the food bank to run throughout the year without any cuts.

He said much of the increase in the fundraising goal is due to repairs to the agency’s building earlier this year.

Murray said the building – located at 33914 Essendene Ave. – began “sinking” and required $130,000 in repairs. About half of the cost was covered by ACS, but the rest must be fundraised.

Murray said the increase in the Christmas fundraising goal can also be attributed to more services being offered, including a new summer sports program for kids and a free dental clinic for low-income people.

He said the idea is that providing services at this level eases the burden in the future on issues such as health care and welfare.

“There will be a time when it starts saving the community money because people won’t be a drain on the system.”

Murray said the food bank would also like to continue adding or expanding services, including a breakfast program that provides a free morning meal at school for children in need.

The food bank operates as the Christmas Bureau at this time of year, providing gifts and food hampers to families. Murray said about 1,000 families will receive help this season.

Families who need support are encouraged to register as soon as possible, as are businesses, individuals and organizations that would like to sponsor a family.

For more information, call 604-859-5749, visit http://www.abbotsfordchristmasbureau.org/ or email christmasbureau@telus.net.

The Salvation Army, which mainly supports individuals and couples without children, is also raising funds through the holiday season, with a goal of $500,000. Cash donations are being collected at 13 red kettle locations in Abbotsford and Mission.

Donations can also be made by phone (604-852-9305), online (http://careandshare.ca/) or in person at either the Centre of Hope (34081 Gladys Ave.) or Cascade Community Church (35190 DeLair Rd.).

To become a red kettle volunteer, call 604-309-0660.

MOST-NEEDED ITEMS AT FOOD BANK

– meal drinks (Boost, Ensure, etc.)

– turkey/ham/    roast

– real fruit juice

– frozen vegetables

– pickles/olives

– canned meats

– cereal

– pancake mix and syrup

– dairy/eggs

– fresh fruit (apples, bananas, Christmas oranges)

– fresh vegetables (potatoes, onions, carrots)

– coffee/tea/hot chocolate

– peanut butter/jam

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