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Help fill needs at Christmastime

The Record began the Guide to Giving in 1996 as a way to share information with local residents about the organizations in need of their help. All the groups we spoke to this year agree: The need is still as great as ever.

The Record began the Guide to Giving in 1996 as a way to share information with local residents about the organizations in need of their help.

All the groups we spoke to this year agree: The need is still as great as ever.

The first part of this year's Guide to Giving ran in the Friday, Dec. 9 edition of The Record. The second part starts below, and a third instalment is set to run in the Dec. 16 edition.


A New Westminster group is focusing its efforts on educating the public about the humane treatment of animals and helping to care for pets for families in crisis.

Pacific Volunteer Education and Assistance Team for Animals - VEATA - offers a helping hand for low-income pet owners wanting to have their pets spayed or neutered.

"We also help the pets of people in crisis," said Cheryl Rogers, a member of the society. "We do provide temporary shelter for pets of people in crisis - women in transition houses, people going into detox and emergency hospital stays. We are always looking for foster homes to help out with that sort of thing. In these situations, the maximum you would have the animal is two months, depending on how long it takes them to get back on their feet."

In addition to volunteers to foster animals or develop educational programs that can be presented in schools and other public forums, VEATA appreciates cash donations that help provide services to the community. The group's long-term goal is to get issues of humane treatment of animals and responsible pet ownership introduced into the school curriculum.

VEATA also provides support to the city's emergency pet services program, such as pet owners who are impacted by fires.

"We do Doggy Fun Day and a trivia night," Rogers said. "We are looking to branch out and do more fundraising."

Anyone interested in volunteering for the society, fostering a pet or making a financial donation can email veatasociety@


The Seniors' Services Society provides a wide range of services for local residents throughout the year.

GU Demand for the society's services has increased dramatically in recent years because of cuts to various health and seniors' programs. More than 500 seniors now access the society's programs. Gi

Krista Frazee, support services manager, said the majority of people accessing the society's housing programs are aged 55 to 70, while the bulk of people using its support services range from 70 to 85 years.

The Seniors Services Society offers services such as Meals on Wheels, grocery shopping, support calls, tax clinics, and more.

Eto ing It focuses its efforts on support services, housing services, community education and volunteer opportunities.

In addition to its year-round initiatives, the society is currently working on its Santa for Seniors campaign. Christmas trees that have been set up at London Drugs in Westminster Centre and Market Crossing and at Thrifty Foods in Sapperton have paper ornaments containing the name of a low-income and/or isolated senior who has no family in the area and gift suggestions.

Frazee said people can help seniors by buying a gift and leaving it at that location for pickup by society volunteers.

Alternatively, they can drop off gifts or food donations at the society's office, where hampers will be assembled for local seniors.

Frazee said the society expects to provide about 135 hampers and gifts to people using its housing and support services.

For many of these seniors, it may be the only gift they get this Christmas if they don't have family living nearby. Because seniors often have a hard time asking for assistance, donors can be assured they'll be appreciated.

"We have a temporary housing program," she said. "We give them shelter for three to four months until they find permanent, stable housing."

Volunteers are always in big demand for the society's programs. Help comes in many forms including driving seniors to medical appointments, shoveling snow from seniors' sidewalks, filing income tax returns and driving seniors to medical appointments.

"We are constantly looking for volunteers," Frazee said.

The Seniors Services Society always welcomes cash donations because it can target areas where the need is greatest.

To help the Seniors Services Society, call 604-520-6621. Information about its services is found at


Westminster House wants to provide a traditional holiday season for the clients staying at its residential facility.

Westminster House offers a homelike setting for adult women who are recovering from addiction. Current residents range from 19 to 55 years of age.

Susan Hogarth, development assistant, said Westminster House likes to provide a gift to each of the women staying at the home. Pocket calendars, travel mugs, hand moisturizer, mascara, bus passes, movie passes and journals would make lovely gifts for the women.

"It is a way for helping them heal," she said about journal writing. "They all do (journalling) regularly."

The women at Westminster House are always out and about so they would also appreciate gifts such as umbrellas, raincoats, rain boots, MP3 players, socks, coffee cards, toques, scarves and gloves and bus passes, journals are much appreciated.

"They keep them dry while they are walking throughout the community," Hogarth said. "They go to a lot of meetings, they are always out in the community participating in life."

The facility's needs include an industrial strength vacuum, new dressers, synthetic pillows, commercial cookware and storage shelving for the garage. The ultimate gift would be a van that would help transport the clients to various locations.

"We are doing a penny drive. We know every little bit can make a huge difference," Hogarth said. "It's for stocking stuffers."

Anyone wanting to donate pennies can drop by Westminster House's main office at 228 Seventh St.

To help Westminster House, call Susan Hogarth at 6045245633 or send donations to Westminster House, 228 Seventh St., New Westminster, V3M 3K3. People can also donate online via


More than 600 people visit the New Westminster Food Bank each week.

The local food bank is one of about 18 distribution centres and 100 meal-providing agencies of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. The number of folks accessing the New Westminster depot continues to rise, with 600 to 700 attending during the two days it's open for pickup each week.

The New Westminster Food Bank will be open from Dec. 19 to 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for anyone wanting to drop off cash or food donations.

Two days a week, the food bank distributes food to people in need. It welcomes donations of nonperishable items such as canned fish, canned meat, peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauces, soups, rice, baby food and diapers.

Cash donations are always appreciated because they allow the food bank to purchase three times more food than individuals would be able to buy.

In addition to making donations at the food bank, people can also support the New Westminster Food Bank by donating $5 at the three local Safeway stores when they're buying their own groceries.

Funds donated to the local food bank are forwarded to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, which then provides food to the local food bank.

Donations can be dropped off at the food bank at 1111 Sixth Ave.

Call 604-525-9628 to donate or for more information.

The Guide to Giving will continue in the Dec. 16 edition. For the full 2011 Guide to Giving, visit our website at www.royalcity