The need for support continues to grow - both for individuals in need and non-profit community organizations that help on numerous fronts.
We're continuing with The Record's annual Guide to Giving, which helps readers decide where they may want to donate, whether it's a few dollars, some time or some items on a wish list. This is the second installment of the 16th annual Guide to Giving, which kicked off in the Dec. 12 issue.
ARTS COUNCIL OF NEW WESTMINSTER
The Arts Council of New Westminster has been advocating on behalf of the arts in the Royal City since 1967.
A non-profit organization, the arts council is in need of items to hold events throughout the year.
"Our tents and signs are all last century," said Rick Carswell, president of the arts council. "We do our outreach - Arts in the Park, Arts to Go. We had over 20 different events we did this year in the community. Those tents are falling apart."
Financial donations to replace the aging tents and signs would be greatly appreciated, as would signs and banners from a business offering those services.
Carswell said the New Westminster Arts Council is working on plans for next year's events, which will include a music festival in the spring and a "beautiful music in beautiful spaces" event in the fall. Volunteers are needed for these and other events that the arts council offers in the community, as well as docents who would lead tours of the art gallery.
People can also support the arts council - and local artists - through the 27th annual Treasure Room that's being held in the arts council gallery in Centennial Lodge in Queen's Park. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., the gallery features one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts such as jew-elry, raku, pottery, scarves, woven shawls, tree ornaments, Victorian inspired decorations, books by local authors and more.
Anyone interested in helping the Arts Council of New Westminster can call 604525-3244.
FAMILY SERVICES OF GREATER VANCOUVER
Family Services of Greater Vancouver stepped in to fill a void in the community's Christmas offerings and never looked back.
When the adopt-a-family program in New Westminster was at risk of being discontinued, family services stepped up to the plate and offered to oversee the program.
"Playing Santa Claus is fun," said Patrician Steiner, coordinator of community education and development services.
The program matches families in need with sponsors who buy food and gifts for those families. In addition to the 60 families registered for the program, family services has received enough support to offer hampers to an additional 30 families who were on the waiting list.
New Westminster residents still have a chance to support the adopt-a-family program. At this point, cash donations and gift cards would be much appreciated, as they would allow family services to provide a little something for the 35 or so families who remain on the waiting list.
"We haven't made any commitment to them," Steiner said. "It's a nice surprise when we phone and say we have something."
In addition to the families who are already on the waiting list, family services is still getting inquiries from social workers and others who know of people in need.
Family Services of Greater Vancouver is pleased that it was able to continue offering the adopt-a-family program in New Westminster.
"It brought a real spirit and joy," Steiner said. "Yes, it's work coordinating and matching donors. It's been so nice - you get to be part of the good side of things."
Year-round, Family Services of Greater Vancouver appreciates donations of cash and gift cards, which help people involved in its programs. Volunteers are always needed, particularly for ESL and parenting programs.
For more information, call Family Services of Greater Vancouver at 604-5259144.
The New Westminster food bank won't be distributing any more food until the new year, but it will be accepting donations that help a growing number of people in the Royal City.
Each week, more than 700 people visit the New Westminster food bank, which is one of about 18 distribution centres and 100-mealproviding agencies associated with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. The New Westminster depot distributes food once a week to folks in need.
Anyone wishing to donate cash or non-perishables to the food bank is welcome to drop by the local depot from Dec. 17 to 21 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The food bank welcomes donations of nonperishable food items such as canned fish, canned meat, peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauces, soups, rice, baby food and diapers.
As always, cash donations are greatly appreciated because they allow the food bank to purchase three times as much food as individuals would be able to buy on their own.
New Westminster residents can also support the food bank by purchasing $5 food hampers at local Safeway stores, or placing donations in food bins at Safeway stores in New Westminster. Funds donated to the local food bank are forwarded to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, which then provides food to its food banks.
Donations can be dropped off at the food bank at 1111 Sixth Ave. For more information or to donate, call 604-525-9628.
LOOKOUT EMERGENCY AID SOCIETY
The Lookout Emergency Aid Society's Christmas wish list includes some practical items - and maybe a few treats, too.
The society provides services for homeless people or individuals who are at risk of homelessness in New Westminster, Burnaby, Vancouver and the North Shore. In New Westminster, Lookout operates the Cliff Block (23 beds), the Russell Residence (40 transitional beds and 15 emergency shelter beds), the Rhoda Kaellis residence (24 transitional beds).
This year also marks the first year the Lookout Emergency Aid Society has operated the extreme weather shelter, which aims to reduce the risk of illness, injury and death on nights of extreme weather conditions.
"It's the same for us this year - it's warm clothing, said Dave Brown, community services manager. "Always, socks and underwear. Socks and underwear are one of the biggest needs in our shelters. In our residence, it's coats and sweaters."
Because it's nice to offer the residents a little something out of the ordinary at this time of the year, Brown said sweet treats would also be appreciated.
For more information about Lookout, visit www.lookoutsociety.bc.ca. To help call Dave Suttie at 604-319-4662.
SENIORS SERVICES SOCIETY
The Seniors Services Society has set its sights on helping more than 200 seniors this Christmas.
The society provides a wide range of services including Meals on Wheels, grocery shopping, support calls and tax clinics to more than 500 seniors. It's seeking to help local seniors through its annual Santa for Seniors campaign.
Trees that have been set up at four locations in the city are decorated with ornaments that contain the names of people who are in need and some gift suggestions.
"People pick up the ornament, buy the gift and leave it in the basket under the tree or leave it with the manager or owner of the shop," said Sanjay Gulati, support services manager.
The society will pick up the gifts and deliver them to appreciative seniors before Christmas.
"We are targeting 200 people," said Gulati, adding about 150 people received gifts last year. "There are more people this year. The list is growing."
Priority is given to seniors who are isolated, have low incomes and have no family in the area. For many, this will be the only gift they get at Christmas.
Locally, trees have been set up at London Drugs (555 Sixth St.), Thrifty Foods (270 East Columbia St.), Your Dollar Store With More (811 Carnarvon St.) and London Drugs (7280 Market Crossing in Burnaby). If people would prefer, they can help local seniors by dropping off a gift or gift card, or food donations at the society's office at 750 Carnarvon St.
In addition to donations, the Seniors Services Society always welcomes volunteers for its various programs.
The society has been selected as the lead agency to run a new pilot program, Better at Home. In addition to its existing services, the society also needs volunteers to help with light housekeeping (mainly cleaning) and non-medical transportation for this new program that it will be undertaking in the new year.
To help the Seniors Services Society, call 604-520-6621. For more information about the Santa for Seniors program, visit www. beasantatoasenior.com.
SHILOH-SIXTH AVENUE UNITED CHURCH
Shiloh-Sixth Avenue United Church welcomes donations that enable it to help the people on a number of different fronts.
Each month, Shiloh-Sixth Avenue helps more than 3,000 people who attend the many 12-step programs and the Hospitality Project offered by the church. The Hospitality Project provides people with a warm place to wait until they can get into the food bank.
Jaimie McEvoy, director of the Hospitality Project, said the need is about the same as last year, but new people are always accessing its services.
"The recession started but we have not seen the recovery yet at the grassroots level," he said.
The twice-weekly drop-in also provides services such as a family resource centre, a drop-in for children run by New Westminster Family Place, a teacher from the school district who tutors adults who are upgrading to Grade 11/12, a free clothing and household goods exchange, refreshments and a variety of community services.
"There are certain things that don't come in very often - work boots, gloves, socks, toques, warm clothing," McEvoy said. "We need some warm clothing for people and clothing people can wear for work."
Work clothes needed include work boots and clothing that people can wear to job interviews.
Financial donations are appreciated as they allow the Hospitality Project to buy much-needed items like homeless kit supplies, tea, milk and sugar. Gift cards are also useful, as are nail clippers and can openers.
"We need volunteers, especially volunteers who are available during the day," McEvoy said. "They would be handing out goods to people, supporting the drop-in. It's a hodgepodge."
The Hospitality Project is offered at Shiloh-Sixth Avenue United Church Monday to Thursday. Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer can call the Hospitality Project at 604-522-3443.
ROYAL CITY WRITERS
Royal City Writers is helping to lend a voice to those who may not otherwise have their stories heard.
Diane Hayes started the New Westminster-based not-for-profit earlier this year. In October, it launched a pilot project that's seen volunteers work with residents of the Cliff Block supportive housing program to tell their stories.
"We are using storytelling to build connections in New Westminster," Hayes said. "We are pairing volunteers with experience with people who have a story to tell."
Planning is underway for followup projects, as other organizations have expressed an interest and need to chronicle the stories of their clients.
The group would appreciate donations that would help it produce a small chapbook, which would contain a collection of stories. Seed money of $250 to $1,000 would be greatly appreciated, as would donations of transcription services, digital audio recorders, notebooks and workshop space.
For more information or to contact Royal City Writers, visit www.royalcitywriters.ca.
QUEEN'S PARK CARE FOUNDATION GIFT SHOP
Shopping at the Queen's Park Care Foundation Gift Shop is just one of the ways people can help improve the quality of life of folks living at the centre.
Colleen McDonald, who coordinates the gift shop, has tried to fill the little store inside the centre's lobby with all sorts of items that would appeal to hospital staff, visitors and residents alike. All proceeds from the store are donated to the Queen's Park Care Centre.
"For the first time in 35 years, it is open seven days a way," she said. "Even though it is open seven days a week, it's probably open 22 hours a week."
Volunteers are a great need, as they would enable the gift shop to open more frequently.
In addition to volunteers at the gift shop, the Queen's Park Health Care Foundation greatly appreciates financial donations.
The foundation raises funds for equipment, facility enhancement and activity programming at Queen's Park Care Centre and William Rudd House. The facility's annual wish list includes bathing tubs, wheelchairs, electric beds and blanket warmers.
Funds are currently being raised to buy items including a new listening system, bath baskets (that residents can use to transport their personal items to the bathing/ shower areas) and a new ice dispenser.
"The ice dispensers they use in hospitals are designed for the health-care industry. They disperse soft chewable ice," said Jaquie Buchanan, the foundation's executive director. "People, when they are dying, that is what they want. They are really important."
Buchanan said funds are also being raised for the music therapy program, as music is important to seniors, spiritual care, wheelchair accessible tables and new window coverings.
For more information or to donate, visit www.qphf. org. The gift shop is located inside Queen's Park Care Centre at 315 McBride Blvd.
People can also call 604-517-8661 or send donations to the Queen's Park Health Care Foundation, 315 McBride Blvd., New Westminster, V3L 5E8.