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600 presents given to Langley immigrant and local families in need

December 31, 2023

Langley’s newest charity held its first Christmas free toy shopping event for its registered families in need on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Raphael House opened officially in 2021, after starting out as a mobile food hub in 2020, and now provides groceries to an average of 270 families per week.

Its founder and director Vickie Funk said she and her husband made a commitment to fund Raphael House for the first 18 months, while developing it.

“We realized COVID-19 wasn’t the cause of families struggling to provide groceries, it just highlighted it,” she said.

Within the first six months, many local businesses, farms, churches, and community members stepped up to regularly donate.

When the house started operating, Funk saw about 60 families from the school district each week, but in the last two years the demand has risen to more than 270 families needing help with basic groceries – with more than 100 on the wait list.

“The increase in the cost of groceries has been a huge reason for our numbers increasing, as well as the number of refugees and newcomers to Canada,” Funk shared.

For the Christmas event, community members and local businesses donated about 600 toys and $24,000 over a four-week period of fundraising.

In partnership with Southgate Church, the “Santa Workshop” event was a huge success in the former Passion Home space in McBurney Plaza.