The SOS Caring for Community at Christmas Program ensures local children and youth experience the magic of Christmas, and that adults and seniors also experience joy and dignity over the holidays.
With your help, we can make sure that local children and youth are filled with excitement when they wake up on Christmas morning and see a special gift waiting for them under the tree. SOS collects new toys to fill the Toy Shop, where low income parents, grandparents and caregivers can shop for free. With your help, families, adults and seniors receive local grocery store gift cards so they can choose their own food items to enjoy over the holidays. Together we’re ensuring they have a good meal to share. Together, we’re helping create magic.
To make a financial donation to the program, please click here. Please read the Donation section below for more ways to donate.
During the 2019 Christmas campaign, SOS assisted 1,342 adults and seniors, and 1,404 children and youth received gifts.
The SOS Toy Shop is often short on gifts for teens. Please click here for a list of ideas for teens and pre-teens.
The Angel Tree program helps stock the SOS Toy Shop. Visit a local participating business in November and early December and you’ll discover an SOS Angel Tree. The gifts listed on these Angels have been identified as “that one special gift” that a child or youth is hoping for. Purchase the gift listed on one of the Angel ornaments (or as close to it as possible), attach the Angel to your unwrapped gift and return it to the business location or to the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville to ensure it is included in the gift distribution. Please click here for a list of participating Angel Tree Businesses in 2020.
Thank you for bringing joy to local residents this Christmas! Click on this link to make a donation with your credit card.
Alternatively, call 250-248-2093 during office hours (Monday-Friday 8:30 am -4:30 pm, closed for lunch from 12 pm -1 pm), or come by the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville during those hours, located at 245 West Hirst Avenue in Parksville. In order to ensure everyone's safety, the number of people who enter the building will be limited. For your convenience, tax receipts for financial donations can be mailed, or we can issue the receipt at the time of donation drop-off (please wear a mask and do not enter the building if you are sick).
To drop off financial or toy/gift donations at our Qualicum Beach location (744 Primrose St. at Qualicum Commons) please call 250-752-2040 ext. 1 to ensure someone is there to let you in and receive your donation. Thank you!
Toy and Gift donations
Due to the pandemic, SOS has also had to adjust the way we receive gift donations. Please make donations of new, unwrapped gifts at the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 am to 11:30 am at the Christmas Tent located outside, on the McMillan Street side of the building.
Thank you for your understanding of our modified procedures and drop-off times. We welcome gifts outside these scheduled times when necessary; however, we hope to limit contacts to keep everyone safe.
Registration for the SOS Christmas Program is by appointment only in 2020 due to the pandemic. Beginning on November 9, people can call for an appointment, which begin November 12. Low income families and individuals can call 250-248-2093 to make an appointment.
Please remember to bring:
- Photo ID for each adult (19 yrs+)
- Proof of residency
- Care Cards for minor children
- Proof of income from previous month,
such as a bank statement or government-issued document
(Click here for examples of acceptable Photo ID)
Grocery Store Gift Cards will be distributed by appointment in December at the SOS Community Services Centres in Parksville and in Qualicum Beach. Toy distribution will take place in December at our Parksville location.
Volunteer and Support
We have a full cohort of volunteers for the 2020 Christmas season. Please check back with us in 2021 for future volunteer opportunities. Residents can still assist the program in other ways, such as making a financial or gift donation, or hosting your own fundraiser with the proceeds coming to SOS. Please call 250-248-2093 ext. 251 for more information.
Community Events benefitting the program
- Nov. 2 - 24: Tigh-Na-Mara Breakfast. Visit Cedars Restaurant Monday - Friday, 7:30 am - 11 am, bring in a new, unwrapped toy, gift card, or cash donation and receive a Traditional Breakfast at no cost. Or, patrons can purchase a Traditional Breakfast during this period and Tigh-Na-Mara will donate $10 from every breakfast to SOS. Call 250-248-2333 for reservations.
- Nov. 25: Toy Drive “Drive Through”: From 7 am to 10:30 am, come by the Big Tent in the Tigh-Na-Mara parking lot, and drop off a new, unwrapped toy, gift card or cash donation, and receive a coffee and pastry to go.
- CANCELLED in 2020 due to the pandemic. Nov. 22, 2020, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm: Equestrian Christmas Toy Ride. The Silver Spur Riding Club Hosts this event annually. Riders and their horses don Christmas attire and make their way from Ballenas Secondary School to Stanford Place and SOS Community Services Centre (at around 1:55 pm), collecting gifts along the way.
- Nov. 15 - Dec. 5: Red Apple Toy Drive. Purchase a gift for SOS, leave it in the box, and you will be entered to win a basket of goodies. Fill the Sleigh Day: Dec. 5. Fill the Sleigh with toys and gifts for teens and pre-teenagers.
- TBA: Community Food and Toy Fill Up at Save On Foods. Organized by On Line Electric Co. Ltd. and Robyn Gervais-Royal Lepage. Drop off new toys, gifts, monetary donations and non-perishable food. Hot chocolate and cookies by donation. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! The Lounge 99.9 FM will be live on location. Benefitting SOS and the Salvation Army.
Please call 250-248-2093 ext. 229 for more information about this program.