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Richmond Christmas Fund launches

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 1:40 PDT, Fri September 18, 2020

The Richmond Christmas Fund has been an important community project for nearly 90 years. But, like so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund will look a little different this year.

“The need will be much larger this year,” said Ed Gavsie, president and CEO of Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives which oversees the charitable cause.

He said items will be distributed via curbside drop-off. Toys, crafts and books will be sanitized before they are given out.

Some of the usual fundraisers will also take place, albeit with a changed format, in the weeks leading up to the holiday season. The sixth annual RCMP Toy Drive will take place outdoors at Lansdowne Centre. Richmond Fire-Rescue will host a drive-through donation event where people can drive through the fire hall with donations of cash or toys. And the City of Richmond is donating 100 bicycles.

Christmas Fund co-chair Wayne Duzita said they have reached out to business leaders asking them to donate $10,000 as “angel donors.” While he expected to hear only a few responses, he said he’s received four so far: from TD, Platinum Pro-Claim, Sage and Pacific Gateway Hotel. And a private reserve auction will offer bidders the opportunity to win big, provided they make a donation of $1,000.

Duzita expressed gratitude to local political leaders for lending their social media accounts, contact lists and voices to support the Christmas Fund. The seven “honourary advisors” are:

• Malcolm Brodie, Richmond mayor

• Kenny Chiu, MP Steveston-Richmond East

• Jas Johal, MLA Richmond-Queensborough

• Linda Reid, MLA Richmond South Centre

• Teresa Wat, MLA Richmond North Centre

• Alice Wong, MP Richmond Centre

• John Yap, MLA Richmond-Steveston

All four Richmond MLAs have volunteered their offices to act as toy depots, so toys can be dropped off there in the lead-up to the holiday season.

“In a year like no other, the Christmas fund needs its community’s support like never before,” said RCRG board chair Richard Vetter.

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