Canada's most recent census data showed a spike in the number of children born in the mid-to late 2000s, a phenomenon dubbed a "baby boomlet" at the time.
The reality of what that means for social service agencies who support families has become evident for at least one city group this season.
The Burnaby Christmas Bureau's executive director Stephen D'Souza says they're seeing a "bubble" of kids who have been moving through the program since about 2008.
"This year we have a lot of five-to seven-year-olds and we struggle to keep the popular items on the shelves," he said.
The bureau provides toys for low-income families at Christmas, operating this year out of a temporary toy room location at Brentwood Town Centre. Toys donated at locations around the city, or purchased with financial donations, are stocked on the shelves of the toy room and parents who are pre-registered with the program are able to access gifts for their children before Christmas.
But it's not just the "boomlet" that is challenging for the bureau - D'Souza says they always have a hard time stocking gifts for teens, as many people automatically think of toys for young children when making a donation.
"We still need teen items, both boys and girls," he told the NOW. "Also, we are really low in books."
They're also starting to feel the time-crunch, as Christmas looms and the financial fundraising has a long ways to go. In all, they need to raise $210,000; so far, they're just shy of $130,000.
After the global financial downturn in 2008, the bureau saw a spike in families needing help, but a decrease in donations, which led to the need to dip into reserves that had been built up slowly over the previous decade.
Further dips into the reserve could impact the bureau's ability to operate at full capacity.
Easy ways to give
Toy donations can be dropped off at bureau drop boxes at both Brentwood Town Centre (on the lower level near the toddler play area) and Lougheed Town Centre (at Santa's Wonderland.) Toys should be unwrapped and new.
Metropolis at Metrotown is once again running its annual bureau fundraiser, which to date has raised nearly half a million dollars over the last 20 years.
Santa photos by donation to the Burnaby Christmas Bureau run daily till Dec. 24 at Santa's Castle, Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. On Christmas Eve, photos end at 5 p.m.
Donations can also be made by calling 604-299-5778 or at www.burnabycommunityconnections.com.
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