Before Christmas, Sutton Group Realty sales rep Corwin Kwan heard that due to COVID-19 there was a shortage of contributions to most charities, including local toy drives. Donations to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau were reported to be 75 per cent lower than last year, and Kwan couldn’t imagine even one child going without a gift this year.
With the help of his wife Yvonne, Kwan searched for 45 special gifts and dropped them off to the Christmas Bureau’s headquarters. When asked for a personal or business name for their records, he chose “Sutton Centre”.
“We are so fortunate and just want to give back where we can,” says Kwan. “When leaving the drop-off location, we saw several families in line waiting to register for help this Christmas. It tore our hearts apart.”
As a result, the Kwans decided to continue to search for gifts until the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau’s absolute deadline of Dec. 23. This is the first year that the couple has donated to this particular charity, but after seeing the need firsthand, they plan to shop throughout 2021 in preparation for next Christmas.
The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau has been delivering the joy of the holidays to children in need since 1930. This charity is operated by volunteers and relies entirely on donations. Last December, more than 900 families received toys, games and other gifts through the Christmas Assistance Program.
For the past four Christmases, Kwan donated to and volunteered with Operation MacKenzie, which delivers food, clothing and toiletries to homeless people in Vancouver’s downtown core. On a cold winter’s night, Kwan recalls seeing dozens of people lined up at Pigeon Park, near the corner of East Hastings and Carrall streets to receive much-needed items, a cup of hot chocolate and to know they are not forgotten. Due to COVID-19, Operation MacKenzie had to be cancelled for 2020.