Originally, Zahid and I wanted to create a tradition where we volunteer somewhere during Christmastime. Last year, we did the Beat Cares, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Zahid was unable to volunteer this year, thus leaving me to do it alone. But volunteering alone is not an issue— the issue is, the children who wake up on Christmas morn with no presents under the Christmas tree. Christmas is the spirit of giving, and a season for children as well (in my opinion), so how heartbreaking is it to know that children have nothing on Christmas?! There are unfortunate families who have financial pressures on their shoulders. For many holiday seasons already, the Richmond Christmas Fund (with Volunteer Richmond) has been helping Richmond families with monetary donations, toys and other donations…a lot of these donations are from other Richmond families and corporations as well!
I chose the position of Toy Room Assistant for the Richmond Christmas Fund. My duty was to assist a parent in choosing gifts for their children around the Toy Room. It was delightful to see how much Richmond gave this season! Seeing the various selection of toys, crafts, books, games, and of course, the never-ending supply of stuffies, I am proud to say that I am from such a generous and loving community.
Only one parent was allowed to go into the toy room, assisted by one of the many eager Toy Room Assistants. After shaking his/her hand and introducing my name, the parent and I enter the toy room. Upon the first sight of heaps and heaps of toys, the parent was clearly overwhelmed. Which one to choose?! And to know that each of their children would be getting a garbage bag or two full of toys and goodies was definitely mindblowing! I’m sure they can’t imagine how much fun and excitement their child would be getting, and I was definitely happy to help.
I felt like I was at Toys ‘R’ Us. And having worked for Toys ‘R’ Us before, I felt like a sales associate helping parents shop…but this time, at no charge, which felt even better! Of course I enjoyed shopping for girl’s toys more (hello to a table full of Barbies, Bratz dolls, Polly Pocket, and even Hannah Montana!)…I definitely shared my knowledge on what a 12-year-old would like (no, Mrs. MotherofAPre-teen, I’m not sure if she’d like that Barbie back pack as much as this jewelry box…ugh, YOU like it? Okay…). But I also had some insight on what little boys might like…bring on anything Spiderman, and some Transformers too. But all the car toys, errr…looked like every other car toy to me. Nothing THAT interesting…they all have the same function 😛 What can I say? I was a real girly-girl, so my mother would definitely would have had an easy time choosing the toys I’d like, or a hard time if there’s a lot of Barbies to choose from ;).
It took awhile for the parents to choose for their children, and it definitely helps if they know their children’s taste in toys and activities.
Because of the variety of items that have been donated, the parent was able to choose from a lot of things. I notice that not a lot of sports equipment have been donated, and not a lot of toys for little tomboys, but still, a lot to satisfy each child. Each child was given general toys, stuffies, arts and craft item, game/puzzle, and books. Wow!
Some parents have a lot of children. I can’t even imagine having to buy a gift for a child, but there was a lady who has five, all under 12 years old! Her house must be lots of fun; never a dull moment. And I’m happy to ease her financial worries, with her visit to the Richmond Christmas Fund.
From what I’ve observed, Richmond was able to help over 500 Richmond families! And a lot of the other Toy Room Assistants and myself kept mentioning how generous our community has been. Ready to help our neighbours, especially in the season of love, joy, and giving. But I certainly hope that it doesn’t just start and end on Christmastime. May our efforts to help the rest of our community be all-year-long. After all, Richmond families (and other cities too!) don’t only need our help just during Christmastime…the Richmond Food Bank is always ready to accept donations!
And now that registration at the Richmond Christmas Fund is over, I have to say that volunteering there was a lot of fun, and something I actually looked forward to. Although I was tired from school and a billion of my extra-curricular activities, I actually woke up at 7:45 am on the weekends just to go =) Thanks to my fellow volunteers, the dedicated coordinators (*ahem* Jacqueline and Ian), the happy families, and of course, Santa Richmond!
Keep the spirit of giving going!
It’s true what they say, it’s better to give than to receive =)