Organization says they're short on hampers for seniors living alone at Christmas

An increased number of seniors have registered at Burnaby Community Services for a Christmas hamper and there are not enough sponsors to fulfill the need.
An increased number of seniors have registered at Burnaby Community Services for a Christmas hamper and there are not enough sponsors to fulfill the need. (Shutterstock)

A Christmas miracle is needed at Burnaby Community Services where the number of seniors seeking help from Santa outnumbers the sponsors to match them up with. 

The organization's executive director, Stephen D'Souza, says about 50 more volunteers are needed to provide local seniors with the gifts they're hoping for this Christmas.

"Canes or compression socks just to help them out. But also they're looking for jam and tea," D'Souza told The Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

He says the hampers can mean a lot to the seniors who receive them, and for the sponsors it can be quite rewarding.

"You're calling the senior, asking what they want for Christmas. You're hearing a little bit of their stories [and] you're potentially going to meet them at their home," D'Souza said.

Listen to the full interview with Stephen D'Souza:

An increased number of seniors have registered at Burnaby Community Services for a Christmas hamper and there are not enough sponsors to fulfill the need. 5:39

Burnaby Community Services is part of a project called Allies in Aging that looks at senior isolation across Metro Vancouver.

D'Souza says their research has found that about 10 per cent of seniors don't have someone to connect with, and about 30 per cent say they don't participate in meaningful activities on a regular basis.

"You get to really understand the struggle that our seniors are having, and that can be a shock to a lot of people, " said D'Souza, adding it can also provide a sense of gratitude to volunteers.

He attributes the increase in seniors seeking assistance to the continued struggle to find affordable housing.

Burnaby Community Services is also in need of more toy donations, particularly toys for girls.

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition