Holiday charity services see an increase in youth and seniors

Almost 150 elderly people have used the Abbotsford Food Bank this year

  • Dec. 10, 2016 7:00 p.m.

Toys piled up at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre during the fourth annual Toys for Tots event for the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau last month.

by Owen Munro, Abbotsford News

Christmas fundraising campaigns are in full swing across Abbotsford, but the number of people using the services is going up, putting an extra burden on organizations that are already lagging behind previous years.

For the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau (which serves as the food bank for the rest of the year) and Cyrus Centre two of the major agencies that help assist residents during the holidays donations are still coming in to support the increasing amount of people using the services offered.

The Christmas Bureau’s goal of reaching $1 million in donations is a little more than halfway there, with the organization having raised $537,000 so far.

The money raised provides funding for programs and services for the next 12 months. They also collect donations from various school food drives and the Fraser Valley Auto Mall food drive that takes place this Saturday.

This year, food bank manager Dave Murray said that almost 150 seniors have come in looking for help, a number he only expects to rise in future years.

“I think it’s a trend we’re going to see more and more,” he said. “It’s going up every year and the fact of the matter is when seniors come in, they’re usually pretty desperate. It takes a lot to do that.”

However, it’s not just seniors who risk going hungry or homeless; the Cyrus Centre on Ware Street is seeing an unprecedented number of at-risk youth coming to the centre’s food bank and emergency shelter.

Executive director Les Talvio said the centre has increased its fundraising goal to $110,000 because World Vision pulled out of a $60,000 partnership with the non-profit in order to focus on work overseas. He doesn’t have an exact estimate on what has been raised so far, but said it’s around 40 per cent of their goal.

The uptick in youth looking for food or a place to sleep has been a concern for Talvio.

“We’re seeing about 20 kids a day,” Talvio said. “However, our shelter has been busier where we’re seeing about a 20 per cent increase.”

An update from the Salvation Army which supports single people and couples without children was not available by press deadline.

Visit abbotsfordfoodbank.com, cyruscentre.com or careandshare.ca for more information on how to help.

 

 

Just Posted

ABBY ELECTION HUB: Everything you need to know in one spot

Interviews, Q&As, info on how to vote, stories on the issues and candidate bios all in one place.

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

Man who fled cops and dumped truck at golf course pleads guilty

Incident in January involved arrests by Mission and Ridge Meadows RCMP

Voting basics: How, where and when to vote on Oct. 20

Polls will be open for 12 hours this Saturday as Abbotsford picks a new mayor and council

Few women and young faces among candidate crowd

Abbotsford candidates for mayor and council representative – and not – of city’s population

VIDEO: Applelooza 2018 at Abbotsford’s Lepp Farm Market

Fifth annual event celebrates apple harvest

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

UPDATE: B.C. man who swam naked with sharks arrested

David Weaver, of Nelson, will face mischief and assault charges

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Most Read