UGM Christmas Meal Donations 2012


Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 — 3:16pm PST
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Every year I write about how you can support the UGM Christmas meal but this is the first time I’ll be able to write about it with my own experiences in mind. Last year John and I volunteered to serve at the dinner, which was very rewarding for the both of us. We met community members, saw smiles on faces, and learned about other volunteers and their stories. One little boy was wearing a little suit with a bow-tie, driving home the point for me that we got to play a small part in his special holiday meal.

UGM is an urban relief organization based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With eight locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM is positioned to help those who need it most.

The UGM makes it very easy for you to help out and provide a meal for someone who would really use it during the holidays and if you donate before November 22nd, your donation will be matched. You can donate $39.48 to provide 12 Christmas meals, $69.09 to provide 21 Christmas meals, $125.02 to provide 38 Christmas meals, or any other amount you would like to contribute.

Follow the UGM on Twitter and Facebook for more information about their work, the community, and how you can help.

Stuff the Bus for the Surrey Christmas Bureau 2012


Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 — 10:34am PST
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Comfort Inn & Suites in Surrey is bringing back their Stuff the Bus Drive for a second year. The goal of the campaign is to literally stuff a bus full of donations for the Surrey Christmas Bureau that will be distributed among under privileged children and families. Last year they were able to fill the bus in less than 24 hours!

The Surrey Christmas Bureau assists hundreds of low-income families with children under the age of 16. Through the Hamper and Adopt-A-Family programs these families receive food certificates, toys, gifts, warm clothing and household items. In addition, the Bureau matches sponsors with nearly 250 families who have children with unique challenges and considerations. As Surrey continues to grow, and as the economy’s instability lingers, each year there is a greater need for the services we provide.

Donations of unwrapped toys, warm clothing, gifts and household items will be accepted at Stuff the Bus Friday, December 7th, Saturday, December 8th, and Sunday, December 9th at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Surrey located at 8255 166th Street, just off Fraser Highway.

On Friday and Saturday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm they’ll host a BBQ, have hot chocolate and popcorn for the kids, and prize giveaways. The largest donor will get a special prize from the hotel that includes a weekend stay in their Honeymoon Suite.

John and I stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites after Canada Day in Surrey last year and it definitely surprised us. Aside from the amenities, breakfast options, and in-room coffee, we had a big jacuzzi tub in our room, a fireplace, and a sweeping view of the valley — all this from a Comfort Inn.

Facebook and Twitter for more information about Stuff the Bus and follow the Surrey Christmas Bureau on Facebook and Twitter for more information about their work in the community.

Extra Helping Holiday Food Drive


Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 7:34pm PST
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Thanks to the year-round efforts of campaigns like Five Hole for Food, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (and food banks across Canada) stay top of mind. It’s during the holidays however that the pinch is felt the most for many and food banks really need your help to keep the shelves stocked. Real Canadian Superstore is making it as convenient as possible for you to give, helping those who could use the support this season.

extra-helpingOn November 23, the Extra Helping™ Holiday Food Drive kicks off in Metro Vancouver, BC and across Canada. Until December 13, 2012, you can make a donation at any Real Canadian Superstore, noFrills and Extra Foods store by bringing nutritious, non-perishable food items to drop into the in-store Extra Helping donation bins, or by making a cash donation at the check-out. Donations made within Metro Vancouver will stay in Metro Vancouver helping ensure neighbours are helping neighbours.

Participating stores will also be selling a specially designed $5 PC Blue Menu Deluxe Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinners for $5. This box will equal 4 food items and a $1 donation. Just pay for it at the check-out and drop it in the Extra Helping donation bin on your way out.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society helps 27,000 individuals each week, 26 percent are children. Food distribution is up this year but food donations are down. In British Columbia, the most needed, non-perishable items include: canned proteins such as fish and meat, meals in a tin like hearty stews, dry whole wheat pasta, rice, canned fruit and vegetables, meals in a box, macaroni and cheese, whole grain cereal, granola bars, baby food and formula.

Find a participating store location online and check out the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Surrey Food Bank, Share Society (Tri-Cities), and the Richmond Food Bank to learn more about upcoming campaigns in your area. You can also make food bank donations at the Vancouver and Surrey Santa Claus parades on December 2nd.

White Christmas: Arts Club 2012


Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 3:09pm PST
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John and I were having brunch the other day and I said how much I am looking to the holiday season — especially holiday theatre season. “Bundling up, walking down chilly streets, salted sidewalks crunching under our feet, meeting under the Stanley Theatre marquee and watching White Christmas.” He replied: “That’s such a Vancouver comment — the crunch of salt, not snow, on the sidewalks.” John has a point but regardless of whether Vancouver has snow this winter, there will be a White Christmas at the Arts Club from November 29th to December 23rd, 2012.


The cast of the Arts Club Theatre Company’s 2009 production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical. Photo by David Cooper.

“Oh, Vermont should be beautiful this time of the year, with all that snow!” White Christmas is based upon the Paramount Pictures film written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank with Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.

Performances will be Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are $29 to $85, inclusive of taxes and fees. Book your tickets by calling the box office at (604) 687-1644 or by making an online purchase. The Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage is located at 2750 Granville St, at 12th Ave.

I have a pair of tickets to give away to opening night, December 5, 2012. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to see White Christmas @TheArtsClub from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/fq9NQ

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Monday, November 26, 2012. Follow the Arts Club on Facebook and Twitter for more information throughout the season. Update The winner is Kathleen!

Hope in Shadows 2013 Calendar


Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 11:29am PST
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The 10th anniversary Hope in Shadows Calendar is now available on the streets of Vancouver. The calendar serves many purposes but its two main features are to showcase the photography of low-income residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community and also provide training to vendors who are all from the community.

Hope in Shadows Cover 2012
2010 Hope in Shadows cover. See more previous images on Flickr.

The Hope in Shadows calendar sells through our vendor program, which offers low-threshold sales work for people impacted by poverty and marginalization. By attending a basic sales training session, low-income people are licensed to sell the Hope in Sahdows calendar on the streets of Vancouver. Vendors get one free calendar to get started and make $10 profit for every $20 calendar sold. We train over 200 vendors every year.

I usually get my calendar from Catherine who has been posted outside Waterfront station in previous years. In 2010, she told me that she suffers from depression and severe anxiety and that getting out to sell the calendars is a highlight for her each year.

Last year Paul Ryan, Project Director at Hope in Shadows, told me that selling calendars is a stepping stone for a lot of people. “It helps them gain self-esteem and build confidence. It’s a way that they can feel good about earning money again.” Some of the vendors use the program to compliment a low-income for their household as well, especially with the holidays around the corner.

You can find a street vendor at most major intersections in Vancouver, on the West Side and Downtown, outside SkyTrain stations and in other high-traffic areas.

The Hope in Shadows Book is also available. Co-published by Pivot Legal Society and Arsenal Pulp Press, it is a collection of personal stories behind some of the stunning contest photographs that have been published in the calendars. The book has now sold more than 5,000 copies on the streets of Vancouver. In 2011, they also sold a record-breaking number of calendars — over 14,000!

When you make your purchase you’re not only getting a calendar that features local photography, you’re supporting the vendors and making a difference in our community. Follow Hope in Shadows on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about this project.

Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas 2012


Monday, November 19th, 2012 — 9:49am PST
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It was on this day in 1971 that the Burnaby Village Museum (then Heritage Village) was officially opened by Governor General Roland Michener. Aside from seasonal activities, it’s a year-round attraction where you can learn about Burnaby’s history, take a ride on the heritage carousel, and check out the old Interurban.

For the holidays, the Burnaby Village Museum is hosting a Heritage Christmas.

Galloping
Photo credit: Ruth and Dave on Flickr

The Village is illuminated this festive season with spectacular displays of lights that are sure to put you and your family into the holiday spirit! Lights in our parking lot are a teaser of what’s to see inside. Delight in the shimmering Winter Wonderland near the Love Farmhouse, an Angel-Crossing at the bridge, a Holiday Lane and be wowed by the gigantic multi-coloured Christmas tree sparkling near the carousel. Eco-sculptures, adorned with shining holiday lights, are out of their winter hibernation and along the edge of the meadow.

Stop by November 24th to December 14th, 2012 daily from 12:00pm to 4:30pm and December 15th, 2012 to January 4th, 2013 between 12:00pm and 9:00pm. The village will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Admission is free and carousel rides are $2.30. Follow the Burnaby Village Museum on Facebook and Twitter for more information.