Donation program seeks angels

NANAIMO – Christmas Angels program expecting an increase in families needing its services this year.

A volunteer-based donation program is anticipating an increase in demand for its services as Christmas approaches.

Christmas Angels, run by Volunteer Nanaimo, provides families in crisis with gifts, food and clothing through the use of ‘angels.’

Angels are donors who can be individuals, corporations or a group of people who are paired with a family dealing with serious financial problems during the holiday season. Angels are then given a list of gifts they can purchase for each member of the family.

Rita Innamorati, a volunteer with the Christmas Angel program, said the need for angels this year is “incredible” and is expecting more families will need the service than in the previous year.

“I am probably going to end up with a lot more requests this year than last year … and we are only one of so many agencies that are doing this sort of program,” Innamorati said. “We went from 65 the year before to 305 last year.”

A number of corporate angels have already pitched in and donated to the program, according to Innamorati, who added that those types of angels are important because they often provide cash donations or gift certificates, which can be used to help families facing a last-minute crisis.

“It is really important that we have those [corporate angels] … because we do get last-minute families in need and there is no time to get an actual angel to do the shopping,” she said.

Innamorati said people who want to be angels are not expected to buy gifts for an entire family and can donate as much or as little as they can.

“Every little bit helps,” she said. “If they just want to help one child then we will get a bunch of angels to take care of the family.”

The Christmas Angels program runs until Dec. 24. For more information on how to volunteer please call 250-758-7121 or e-mail vn@volunteernanaimo.ca.