Creating Christmas goodie bags is a holiday tradition

Jane Heuver of Abbotsford has been co-ordinating this good deed every year since about 2006

Jane Heuver displays some of the items included in her Christmas goodie bags.

Jane Heuver displays some of the items included in her Christmas goodie bags.

Jane Heuver of Abbotsford has always had a heart for helping others.

She volunteered in Vancouver with a ministry that helped street-trade workers, and celebrated her 65th birthday in Africa, where she visited schools, orphanages and women’s groups.

Now 82, the Abbotsford resident continues her giving ways.

Heuver, with the help of New Life Christian Reformed Church and several individuals, delivered more than 200 gifts bags this season to people who are less fortunate.

It has been an annual holiday tradition for Heuver since about 2006.

Throughout the year, she purchases items such as soap, shampoo and socks, and tucks them away for safekeeping.

As Christmas approaches, New Life Church also contributes items.

This year, a local dentist donated 80 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste.

Heuver also purchases and collects fabric that she turns over to the church for a group of volunteers to sew into bags in which the items are placed.

Another group of individuals from Genesis Church bakes hundreds of cookies. Earlier this month, Heuver had some help from a group of girls involved in the GEMS Club at New Life Church to sort and package about half the bags.

The gift bags include socks, mittens, facecloths, knitted tuques (also donated), chewing gum and toiletry items such as deodorant, soap and shampoo.

The women’s bags often include items like cosmetic cases, while the men get razors.

The cookies are packaged and given separately, so they do not become crushed with the other items.

Last week, Heuver dropped off the entire collection of 200 packaged gift bags at the church, which delivered them to Life Recovery for women, Joshua House men’s recovery home, homes for people with mental challenges, and to the River Community Church for its outreach program, The Stream.

Heuver said she gets much joy out of the project every year.

“Many of the people that I meet, they are hurt by other people. I think they should also find healing through people who care.”