The Caring Neighbours program will still be helping local families and seniors this holiday season, but it’s going to look a little different than in past years.
Each year, Family Services of Greater Vancouver coordinates the Caring Neighbours Holiday Campaign, which provides support for food and gifts to low-income families with children and seniors (aged 55 and up) in New West.
In non-COVID years, residents, business and local organizations “adopt a family” and buy gifts for the family member.
“To ensure the health and safety of donors, staff, volunteers and all the registered families and seniors, we are focusing on raising money to buy gift cards for our families, so they can buy a holiday meal, toys for their children, household necessities, etc.,” said Maylen Crespo, community lead-manager, community education and development services.“Sponsors won't be able to deliver gifts in person to families or seniors. Instead, we’d like to encourage them to make a cash donation or purchase gift cards that will be given to our participants for their holiday’s meals and gifts.”
Demand for this year’s Caring Neighbours program is expected to be high, and donors are always needed.
“We are very grateful that most of our donors are continuing to support our program and put the safety of all concerned first,” Crespo said. “We are also expecting to have a larger number of participants, and that everyone will be receiving some support.”
Registration for the Caring Neighbours campaign ends on Nov. 30. It’s open to residents who live in New Westminster and have a household income that’s at or below the low-income standard, are not registered with any other Christmas program this year, and have one or more children living with them under the age of 18 or are a senior.
“Registering early does not ensure participation in the program, priority is given to those who are new to the program,” said a notice about the program.
Anyone wishing to be considered for the program must fill out an online application at fsgv.ca/caringneighbours-nw-2020 and must submit their documents (proof of address, proof of income for all adults in the household aged 19 and older and photo ID for all adults in the household or Care Cards for all the children in the household.)
Because of COVID-19, Family Services is not accepting drop-ins this year. Anyone who is unable to fill out the application online must make an appointment by calling 604-525-9144.
To help out a local family or senior this holiday season, go to www.caringneighbours.ca.