Willy Bullock talks about the many toy donors and volunteers who’ve made the Red Deer Christmas Bureau a success as its 50th anniversary nears Saturday.

Willy Bullock talks about the many toy donors and volunteers who’ve made the Red Deer Christmas Bureau a success as its 50th anniversary nears Saturday.

Bureau marks 50 years of spreading Christmas cheer

Although the Red Deer Christmas Bureau has been around for 50 years there’s still many people who don’t know it exists, a bureau official says.

Although the Red Deer Christmas Bureau has been around for 50 years there’s still many people who don’t know it exists, a bureau official says.

Willy Bullock, one of the driving forces behind the bureau’s success and longevity, said Saturday the demand for its many services continues to grow.

“Many people don’t realize there is a Christmas bureau or what we do,” Bullock said at the bureau’s permanent headquarters in north Red Deer.

“As the city grows so does the demand on the bureau. Every year it goes up and up,” said Bullock who has been serving the bureau for 15 years.

This year’s birthday will be highlighted by an open house on Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

What first started by the charitable firemen from the Red Deer Fire Department has grown to include a wide range of services including coats for kids, cash cans, food hampers, Red Deer Rebels toque and mitt toss, stuff a bus, the toy depot, doll house, Red Deer Westerner bazaar and one of the recipients of the Red Deer RCMP Charity Checkstop.

Bullock said the firefighters started taking in toys and fixing them up but their project snowballed as the demand grew for not only toys but food and clothes.

The bureau is a non-profit organization that was set up to help children and families in need at Christmas, said Bullock who is director of the toy depot and volunteer co-ordinator.

The goal is to provide families with a full Christmas meal and for the parents to be able to give their children gifts of toys, Bullock said.

The board of directors are a group of volunteers.

“We are always looking for volunteers who are interested in making a difference in the lives of families and children in Red Deer and the Springbrook-Penhold area,” she added.

“I do it because it makes me feel needed and wanted. There are so many people out there who need help.”

The bureau is located at Bay 10 7429 49 Ave., in Red Deer.

Monday marks the beginning of accepting applications for assistance from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Families and individuals who have been accepted into the program can pick up their hampers starting the end of November.

The bureau, in addition to offering food and gift hampers, also provides families with Christmas trees and decorations.

For the first time this year the bureau is also offering expectant mothers baby hampers, which include handmade quilts, sheets and other baby products.

Last year the bureau handed out about 35 hampers a day.

It “barely” kept up, Bullock laughed.

“Everybody goes home happy. We get lots of hugs at the door. You know some of the mothers have tears in their eyes.”

Last year the bureau handed out toys to almost 1,200 children and had about 1,100 applications for hampers.

That number is expected to grow again this year, Bullock added.

For more information telephone 403-347-2210

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Opinion
Opinion: Canada’s self-esteem needs Trump

Well, it was fun while it lasted. For four years, with Donald… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Most Read