The eighth annual Angel Tree event has kicked off at Vancity Savings Credit Union in Maple Ridge.
Forty eight angels decorated by students from Meadowridge School adorn a Christmas Tree in the front lobby of the credit union branch at 22824 Lougheed Highway.
On the back of each angel is the wish list of a child whose family needs support this holiday season.
The children’s names are gathered by Cythera Transition House Society, a non-profit organization that provides services to abused women and children.
Once again the public is being asked to pick an angel, fulfill the wish list and return the unwrapped presents to the branch no later than Dec. 8.
On Dec. 9, the gifts will be wrapped and delivered to Cythera House in time for the holidays.
It is very fulfilling, says account manager Gina Rubin.
“It helps out people in our local community and gives them a helping hand for the holiday season,” said Rubin.
This year there are six children from one family on the tree. There are also teens aged 16-18 years that are living on their own and need help.
A book sale held throughout the year at the branch helps to top up gifts and also provides the parents with a gift certificate for Target and Superstore for holiday supplies.
Last year the program helped 59 children in Maple Ridge.
A total of 401 children, including this year’s angels, have been helped since the program started in 2007.
Each year the branch makes sure it doesn’t take more names than it can sponsor.
“But that’s never been a problem,” said Rubin.
“Everybody who takes an angel gets their own joy out of it,” she said.
The Vancity Pitt Meadows branch, at 19800 Lougheed Highway, has 31 angels on its tree this year.
Names for them are provided by the Meadow Ridge Food Bank.
The branch will also be collecting Size 5 and 6 diapers, baby wipes, toiletries, gift certificates from Superstore, Save On Foods and Safeway, new gloves and socks and new or gently used blankets.
Deadline for donations is Dec. 10.