James Moffat

A ‘Christmas to Remember’ for struggling families in Chilliwack

Fantasy Farms in Chilliwack helped organize A Christmas to Remember for 25 needy families.

It was a ‘Christmas to Remember’ for 25 needy Chilliwack families Saturday afternoon.

The greenhouse at Fantasy Farms on Gibson Road was transformed into a winter wonderland with snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, 15 decorated trees, hundreds of twinkling lights, a cosy fireplace, and a dinner table with all the Christmas fixings.

For Gary Moran, owner of Fantasy Farms, it was about providing lasting memories for those who need it most.

When Chilliwack Rona approached Moran last July about organizing a Christmas event, he didn’t hesitate in jumping on board. He wanted to give a little extra to those in need just as someone had for his family so many years prior.

Moran grew up in a single-income household, with three other siblings, after his father died. His mom worked hard, and they never went without. But most Christmases, the young Morans didn’t have the extras that all the other neighbourhood kids had.

And then, one Christmas, two men showed up at their front door with bags of food and other such goodies.

“All four of us children remember that Christmas as the Christmas where we had the extras that others had,” said Moran.

After Fantasy Farms got on board, the event snowballed. Several businesses donated time, money, and other such necessities. Rona raised $5,800, Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart, and Coopers Foods supplied the food at cost, Lilydale supplied all the meat, the Fraser River Fishing Lodge in Agassiz donated its kitchen and staff, and one Fantasy Farms customer, a chef by trade, donated his skills by way of cooking up the massive feast.

As well, there were approximately 40 volunteers decorating the greenhouse, wrapping gifts, cooking food, serving food.

“We had so many people wanting to volunteer, we actually had to turn down volunteers,” said Moran.

Families were selected by the Ann Davis Transition Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley, as well as private submissions. Each family was asked to provide a wish list for Santa.

“It was so heartwarming to read what they were asking for,” said Moran. “Mostly just the basics of what they needed: flour, cooking stuff, baking stuff. The kids asked for Lego and colouring books.”

Every item that was asked for, was provided.

From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. 25 families, just shy of 100 people, were doted on. They were entertained, dined, given presents, and train rides around the outdoor Christmas village.

“We all have memories of something that was special in our life, that we can reflect back on at different times,” said Moran. “This is something to remember.”

For Fantasy Farms, this year’s Christmas to Remember is just the beginning.

“We’ll definitely be doing it again,” said Moran. “It’s very rewarding. It’s nice to be able to do something like this.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

The most h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s spelling bee you’ll ever see in Chilliwack

Secondary Characters Musical Theatre hits the stage with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Hang gliding video gives stunning view of Harrison and Fraser river confluence

Aerial view shows striking difference between two rivers as they meet

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Man known to police fled an allegedly stolen vehicle and firearm on the reserve north of Chilliwack

Stay safe on the rivers of Chilliwack and don’t become a statistic, says swift water expert

Chilliwack Search and Rescue is putting out a safety message just in time for the summer season

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read