Santa Bear is a visible icon for Santas Anonymous, the Greater Victoria charitable organization that is celebrating its 40th year in 2017. Courtesy Santas Anonymous

Santas Anonymous broadening its scope in Greater Victoria

Organization hosts its annual Miracle on Broad Street fundraiser this Friday

A charitable organization marking its 40th year of working with children and families in Greater Victoria expects to help more than 1,500 families, a task made more difficult with donations down so far from 2016.

Santas Anonymous, a non-profit group whose 420 volunteers logged 19,000 hours last year, expects to touch the lives of close to 6,000 people this year, including more than 3,600 children, says executive director Christine Hewitt.

“Santas has started to take a larger role, ” she says, adding that the group has added 100 families a year to its programs since 2011. “With 40 years in the community, it’s an exciting time and a time when we’ve made significant changes to the way we [work within] the community.”

Having had its beginnings in providing toys to children in families in need, Santas has broadened its scope over the years to include a busy special grant program.

Since 2002, it has handed out approximately $1.9 million to community groups, and that’s outside of its Christmas toys and grocery hamper activities. A smaller amount of donations could affect how much work they can do in the community next year, Hewitt says.

The organization is part of a Victoria-wide group known as the Christmas Giving Network. It also includes the Salvation Army, Mustard Seed, Sooke and Sidney food banks, St. Vincent de Paul and other community agencies, which together receive in the area of 12,000 household applications for help around Christmastime.

Part of the increasing caseload for Santas comes from the fact it has taken on a certain amount of the kids and families toys distribution from those other organizations, so they can help singles and focus more on their core area of assistance.

Santas Anonymous, together with its media partners CFAX radio and CTV, is hosting the annual Miracle on Broad Street this Friday (Dec. 8) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fundraiser brought in $585,000 in 2016 and Hewitt is hopeful for this year.

“If we come even remotely close to last year we’ll be thrilled,” she says.

For more information on donating or applying for a hamper, visit cfaxsantas.com.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Weekend collisions keep West Shore RCMP busy

Officers responded to three separate incidents within the span of one hour

Get ready for the 39th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Up to 9,000 particpants are anticipated for this year’s three-day race weekend

E&N Rail Trail open house this Wednesday

Construction on segment between Atkins Avenue and Savory Elementary to start this fall

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

School of magic teaches youth to be themselves

Organizers hope to run the camp next summer as well

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read