Many ways to spread Christmas cheer this season 

Local charities looking for contributions to help people over the holidays

Christmas may be the season of frantic shopping, menu planning and merry-making. But it is also the time of year when more people think of those less fortunate than they are and wonder what they can do to help.

Traditional charities, such as the United Way, are always popular but there are also many great options in Whistler where the help you give stays close to home.

"Whistler Community Services has about 20 programs and services and people can either donate specifically to a program or you can just donate to the programs in general," said Janet McDonald, executive director of the society.

The organization is the midst of its Christmas Hamper program. Through it the Whistler Community Services Society helps about 25 Whistler families enjoy Christmas by providing all the fixings for a turkey dinner, gift certificates to buy fresh food and presents for the family.

"Not quite as many families have applied this year, but that may be because everyone is holding off until the last minute," said McDonald.

Anyone who needs a little help is encouraged to get hold of the WCSS. All information is kept in strictest confidence and, said McDonald, families are not put through an onerous application process as that can just push those who need help away. Families, organizations clubs and others sponsor the hampers in the community.

The WCSS is also working hard on its annual food drive.

"Most of the food winds up coming in over Christmas and it carries us through for a good part of the year, so we really rely on this time of year to get the non-perishable food in," said McDonald.

"Cash is also very handy because it means that when we run out of stuff we can buy what we need. And we tend to run out of the staples like peanut butter, tuna, and pasta sauces."

If you want to give money you can mail a cheque to PO Box 900, Whistler, B.C., V0N 1B0. Or phone in to 604-932-0113 with a credit card number. People can also drop by the office in Myrtle Philip Community School with cash.

The Mount Currie Lil’Wat Christmas Bureau hamper drive is also under way. And, said co-ordinator Sharon Edmonds, they are also looking for toys.

"We needs gifts for toddler and teens," she said, adding that for some families the toys in the hamper are the only toys the kids get for Christmas.

Money donations are also needed as the bureau gets ready to go shopping to fill the hampers.

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