Photo by Chung Chow
Like a favourite blanket, Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives is always there to comfort.
This festive season, it was needed more than ever.
RCRG served 2,162 low-income Richmond residents, a 25 per cent increase over Christmas 2016. Among those helped were 692 children, 189 teenagers, and 303 seniors, according to Ryan Luetzen, manager of resource development for RCRG.
“Our heartfelt thanks goes out to the hundreds of volunteers and donors who supported us this year, because it’s their generosity, kindness, and compassion that makes the program possible,” he said.
As needs grow, the charity—as it has been for over 40 years—continues to be a source of goodwill for the local community. Its core mission is to encourage and facilitate philanthropy; both volunteerism and monetary donations. It works every day to ensure resources are available to make a meaningful impact.
RCRG, as it is best known, is coming off a busy Christmas holiday season during which it oversaw the 85th Richmond Christmas Fund. Luetzen says while the program has changed a lot during that time, “it has always remained a community effort. It is truly part of the fabric of Richmond.”
Luetzen said while it was a very busy Christmas Fund season, it was another successful one.
Among the community fundraisers and groups or individuals that stepped up to offer support were 110 volunteers. Contributing well over 1,000 hours to brighten the holidays for more than 2,100 neighbours in need, their efforts were simply exemplary.
Additionally, Lansdowne Centre hosted the popular gift wrap booth; international software giant Sage donated a number of toys for children in need; and local author Kaye Liao Banez raised $830 from the sale of her new children’s book See Yah in the Morning!
As well, Richmond Centre made for the second year in a row a $5,000 donation to the Christmas Fund; Richmond Rotary contributed $2,550; Henry Beh and the Richmond Chinese Community Society stepped up with a $1,200 donation; Aberdeen Centre donated $10,000; O’Hare’s GastroPub Steveston Beer Fest netted $11,480; and Richmond Auto Mall’s annual Windows of Hope donated an event-record $36,275.
Through a campaign launched by Patti Martin in 2011, Richmond realtors also came through for the Christmas Fund, together donating $16,000.
Other much-appreciated contributions came via the Steveston Merchants Association’s annual Christmas Classic Car Cruise; the 11th annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive at Riverside Palace Banquet Hall; Shopping Night at Splash Toy Shop; the annual Christmas Drive-Thru Event at River Rock Casino Resort; and the annual Richmond RCMP Toy Drive and Pancake Breakfast at Ironwood Plaza.