Telus employees are filling up stockings at their Burnaby office for children and seniors throughout Metro Vancouver and Squamish.
The demand this year is high as many families are experiencing economic hardships.
"If some children don't receive (the stockings), this may be the only Christmas they get. My wish is that each child gets a good Christmas," says Sharon Yli-Villamo, the project manager.
Every year, the Telus Ambassadors, a group of current and former Telus employees, cut, sew, decorate, and fill the stockings with care. The fabric for the stockings is purchased with dollars fundraised by the volunteers.
Some stockings are filled with necessities, such as toothbrushes and socks, and others are more festive with candy and toys for children. "Some people really get creative," she says.
The annual stocking initiative started as a small-scale project in North Vancouver 30 years ago. The stockings are left out from September to November for the employees to fill. Then the stockings are picked up by various social agencies: Atira Women's Resources Society, the Coquitlam school board, Dixon Transition Society, Howe Sound Women's Centre, and more. The project supports eight agencies, alternating with another eight each year, to help 16 in total.
"The employees feel that it's quite rewarding to know they helped someone unfortunate," says Yli-Villamo.