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Richmond Christmas Fund opens online registration 

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:27 PDT, Wed September 2, 2020

Richmond residents who are struggling financially, and may not be able to afford a holiday celebration, can apply online to receive assistance from the Richmond Christmas Fund.

Those who submit a request for support will have their eligibility assessed virtually, over Zoom. If they qualify for the Christmas Fund, they’ll be given a day and time—in November or December—to pick up a selection of grocery vouchers, toys, and gift cards, determined by household size and composition. This new registration procedure is offered specifically to individuals and families who did not access the Christmas Fund in 2019. Last year’s clients have already been contacted and given instructions on how to receive help in 2020. 

Those who are registering for the first time this year will be asked to provide picture ID, proof of Richmond residency, CareCards for all family members being registered, and proof of enrollment in an approved government income assistance program, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). 

Operated by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG), the Christmas Fund is taking precautions to protect its clients, volunteers, and staff members during COVID-19. 

“We’ve implemented a range of health and safety measures,” says Ed Gavsie, president and CEO of RCRG. “Virtual registration is extremely important this year, so we can maintain physical distancing. And when clients come to pick up their items, we’ve taken steps to make the process as quick as possible, with limited contact.” 

Due to the economic hardship caused by COVID-19, the Christmas Fund is anticipating an especially busy year. At the same time, the program is facing a financial shortfall, as key fundraising activities have either been cancelled or scaled back. 

“We’re going to stretch our resources as far as they can go,” says Gavsie. “We won’t be able to provide the same level of assistance as years past, but we do hope to provide something to everyone who needs it.”

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