There are many reasons to volunteer for an organization.
Sherry has one big reason: her daughter Marcella is now an active middle schooler.
This year, the family plans to help out at Coquitlam’s and Burnaby’s Aunt Leah’s Tree lots as a way to give back to the New Westminster-based organization.
Sherry, whose name is not published for privacy reasons, was just 16 when she moved into Aunt Leah’s house with her three-month-old infant.
Not only did Aunt Leah’s provide her with secure housing — in a home for young women under 19 with babies — but the organization also offered her parenting and life skills programs, as well as help to go back to school.
Now Sherry lives with her daughter in an independent suite in Aunt Leah’s Thresholds housing and is working as a flag-person with union wages while she plans to pursue further schooling.
Thanks to Aunt Leah’s, Sherry said, she is able to provide a happy, healthy home for herself and her daughter. “Volunteering at the tree lot puts us in the Christmas spirit, and it feel good to give back to Aunt Leah’s after all they have done for us.”
Sherry’s story is being told as volunteers are desperately needed to work at the lots in Burnaby and Coquitlam that open on Nov. 26, said coordinator Hope Rayson.
It’s a good opportunity to gain volunteer hours for school or to simply help out Aunt Leah’s, she said.
Last year, Christmas tree sales at Burnaby, Coquitlam and Vancouver raised $649,000 for housing and programs for foster youth, and moms and babies.
Aunt Leah’s has been a lifeline for these young people during the pandemic by providing housing, food hampers, baby supplies, clothing and essential emotional and mental health supports, according to the organization.
But help is needed to keep programs running, and sales of Christmas trees are once again an important fundraiser for Aunt Leah’s.
The tree lots are at the following locations:
- Burnaby: All Saints Anglican Church (7405 Royal Oak Ave., opening Nov. 26)
- Coquitlam: Eagle Ridge United Church (2813 Glen Dr., opeing Nov. 26)
- Vancouver: St. Stephen’s United Church (7025 Granville St., opening Nov. 25)
HERE’S HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Call Hope Rayson at 778-551-5535
And to make things safe for workers and shoppers, Aunt Leah’s has introduced the following procedures:
- Tree lots are expanded to allow for more physical distancing
- Sanitation procedures and schedules are in place for staff and volunteers
- Personal Protective Equipment (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves) is provided to volunteers
- Plexiglas and partitions are installed
- Face masks are recommended inside the lots