Photo by Chung Chow
If your budget means you cannot offer your family a Christmas dinner or gifts under the tree, the Richmond Christmas Fund offers help and hope. The fund mobilizes the community's spirit of giving to make holiday wishes come true for over 2,000 low-income Richmond residents each festive season. And the need is growing.
"In 2017, our service delivery numbers increased by 25 per cent, to over 2,100 people," says Ed Gavsie, president and CEO of Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG).
Operated by RCRG, the Christmas Fund is non-religious and fully inclusive. Anyone who needs help, and meets the program's eligibility criteria, can use it. All you have to do is bring your documentation and register.
Registration opens Nov. 24 and runs the following three Saturdays through Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Richmond Caring Place, 7000 Minoru Blvd. at Granville Avenue. You take home your family’s Christmas gifts, the day you register.
For registration, you will need picture identification for yourself and CareCards for all your family members being registered, proof of Richmond residency, and an original document showing you are enrolled in an approved government income assistance program.
According to RCRG, the day you register, you will receive up to four grocery vouchers (while daily supplies last). You can then select your children’s gifts from the Christmas Fund Toy Room while, for your 13 to17-year-olds, you will receive gift cards.
"The Christmas Fund is a grassroots, community-driven program," says Gavsie. "The vast majority of our donations come from regular Richmond residents and businesses, who simply want to brighten the holidays for their neighbours in need."
For information on how to access or how to donate to the Christmas Fund go to www.rcrg.org or call 604-279-7035.
Other Richmond Christmas Fund events include:
• 4th annual Richmond RCMP Toy Drive and Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon at Ironwood Mall
• 2018 Windows of Hope at Richmond Auto Mall on Wednesday, Nov. 21
• Giving Tuesday at River Rock Casino Resort on Tuesday, Nov. 27
• A Not So Silent Night at Audi Richmond showroom at Richmond Auto Mall on Wednesday, Nov. 28
• 12th Annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive from Dec. 1 to 15 at Riverside Banquet Hall, 14500 River Rd.
• Christmas Fund Gift Wrap at Lansdowne Centre from Dec. 1 to 24
• 2018 Christmas Classic Car Cruise on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 12:15 to 2:30 in Steveston Village