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Can you help share the Christmas spirit?

New Westminster Family Place is in need of toy donations for its upcoming Christmas parties.

New Westminster Family Place is in need of toy donations for its upcoming Christmas parties.

Family Place operates several drop-ins in the Royal City, including its main site on Sixth Street and at the Hospitality Project at Shiloh-Sixth Avenue United Church on the days that the food bank is open to clients.

Christmas parties are being held at the both locations this month.

"We have a party for, all together, about 70 children," said Marjorie Staal, executive director.

Family Place doesn't need any baby gifts or stuffies because it's received those type of donations, but it needs toys for two-and three year olds. Donations can be dropped off at New Westminster Family Place at 93 Sixth St.

THANKS FOR HELP

Two local residents are grateful for the kindness of strangers.

A local sent a note to The Record to express her thank to the person or persons who found her purse at Eighth Avenue and Eighth Street on Nov. 23 and gave it to New Westminster firefighters.

"And also a heartfelt thank you to these firemen who went to great effort to see that my purse was delivered safely back to me right to my front door," wrote the resident. "Words cannot express enough appreciation to all of you.

Thank you so very much."

Another resident is thankful for an act of kindness that saved her some money. She's grateful to the person who put a reminder note on her car in Westminster Centre on Nov. 29, informing her that her insurance decal had lapsed. "You saved me a huge fine, which no one needs, especially near Christmas," she said.

TREE CHIPPING SET

The New Westminster Firefighters Charitable Society is reminding Royal City residents to mark Jan. 7 and 8 on their 2012 calendar.

Those are the days that local firefighters will be holding their annual Christmas tree-chipping event at the Canada Games Pool parking lot. The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, gives residents a chance to dispose of their Christmas trees and enjoy a community event.

"We have joined with the Scouts this year," said Glen Bailey, president of the charitable society. "The Scouts are going to be on site with us. They are going to be doing a bottle drive."

Scouts will get the proceeds of all bottles returned at the event, while firefighters will accept donations for the charitable society.

People are welcome to attend the event even if they don't have a live Christmas tree they need to recycle.

Bailey said residents are invited to come and enjoy a hotdog, watch a tree burning demonstration (weather permitting), enjoy some entertainmen and watch trees being chipped.

"I hope people in New West start to expect us to have it," he said about the event. "We have had absolutely phenomenal attendance and participation."

The only year where attendance was down was in 2009, when there was a heavy snowfall before and after Christmas.

SENIORS WELCOME

The Sapperton Old Age Pensioners Association may have maxxed out on its Christmas dinner, but it's always looking for new members.

The group's Christmas luncheon is fully booked, but it's always open to new members.

"If you are one hour past 50, you can join," said Al Lambert, the association's treasurer. "We need people. We need younger seniors to step up to the plate."

Cheryl Gauld was named the association's new president on Nov. 16. She takes over from Bill Bemister, who will remain on the executive.

"It's hard for our group - we are suffering from attrition," Lambert said.

"Cheryl is more than willing to come in and help."

The pensioners meet on the third Wednesday of every month, except December. After meeting in the hall, they go downstairs for goodiess that are organized by Cheryl Herbert, Freda Lambert, Anne Smith and others.

"Every Tuesday, we have carpet bowling. We are starting to revive the carpet bowling," Lambert said. "We have Reno Keno."

For more information, call 604-522-0280.

Do you have an item for Around Town? Send ideas to Theresa McManus, tmcmanus@royalcityrecord.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TheresaMcManus.