Volunteers are searching for “angels”

NANAIMO - Volunteer Nanaimo needs “angels” to pair with people in need this Christmas.

Volunteer Nanaimo is looking for a few good “angels” to help local families in need, vulnerable youth and seniors this holiday season through its Christmas Angel program.

‘Angels’ are individuals and companies that are paired with local families, seniors and youth facing economic hardship through the Christmas season.

“We’re really shy on our angels this year,” said Rita Innamorati, Volunteer Nanaimo head volunteer. “Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done about 250 families, but we still have over 30 families and about 16 vulnerable teens.”

Once paired with a family, Angels receive a list of items they can pick from, go buy a gift for each child and, if they choose, purchase items for the parents as well.

“We also get individual people who are marginalized with challenges, we get those as well,” Innamorati said. “A lot of them are not working; lots of single moms, you know. A lot of our kids this year are teenagers.”

There is often less items for teens because Angels often ask to be paired with families with young children.

Many of the teens are vulnerable and living without the emotional and economic support of family members.

“I could bring tears to your eyes with some of the stories of these kids,” Innamorati said.

Angels who don’t want to shop are welcome to make cash donations and volunteers will shop for presents on their behalf.

“They’re tax-deductible donations because we are charitable and it allows us to shop for those last minute families that show up,” she said. “We deal sometimes with families right up until Christmas Eve. Last year, Christmas Eve, we were shopping and wrapping. I had a little elf house going on at the office with six people wrapping presents Christmas Eve morning.”

To learn more or to get involved with the Christmas Angel program, please visit the Volunteer Nanaimo website at www.volunteernanaimo.ca, e-mail vn.admin@shaw.ca or call 250-7587121.