• Stephanie O’Hanley

CAB L’Actuel calls on the community to make the holidays easier for families in need

With news reports of more Canadians turning to food banks than ever, there’s no question many are going through difficult times.

The non-profit Centre d'action bénévole (CAB) L'Actuel wants to make the holiday just a little brighter for families living in Vaudreuil-Soulanges who are having a hard time. For the past 10 years it’s called on the community to help its neighbours by sponsoring needy families and for 15 years it has held an annual toy drive for new children’s toys.

“Seeing your family, exchanging gifts, it’s as much fun for the parents as for the kids who usually share a meal and there’s lots of joy and emotions,” said Serge Langlois, who handles communications and marketing for CAB L’Actuel. “But for many families their reality is different from what we expect the holidays to be. And that’s why we’re looking for families to sponsor someone from their community a little more in need.”

Sponsoring a family is as simple as donating food, a gift card or a gift certificate to a grocery store, a new toy, a gift or a gift card for a recreational outing. Families in difficulty register with the CAB L’Actuel and it’s possible for sponsoring families to learn a bit about the family they’re paired with, “like there’s a boy and a little girl or if it’s a single mother,” Langlois said.

At the same time, “We try to keep it really anonymous so no one feels bad about their situation,” he said. To avoid any awkwardness for recipients, the sponsoring family never meets the family they’re helping. Instead families in need will come by CAB L’Actuel to pick up their gifts.

Sponsors are welcome to send a well-wishing message to the families they’re paired with. If the sponsoring family is Anglophone and wants to send a message but the receiving family only understands French, CAB L’Actuel will help, Langlois said. “That could be cool, to make the community stronger,” he said. “If an English family is giving to a French family and a French family is giving to an English family, that could be interesting also.”

Messages need to be anonymous, Langlois said. “You can’t have any names or anything like that.”

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please register with CAB L’Actuel by December 11.

Another way to help is by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy for a family in need to CAB L’Actuel’s office by December 11. The toys will be given out at a special distribution day event on December 13.

Toys can be anything, even a tricycle, and there are no restrictions on what can be donated. “We’ll accept anything,” said Langlois. “It’s to make sure the kids have something new to open during the holidays.”

To sponsor a family or for more information about the toy drive, please phone Danielle Couture of CAB L’Actuel at (450) 455-3331, ext. 227. before December 11 during office hours Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. or from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Centre d'action bénévole L'Actuel’s offices are located at 88 Adèle Street in Vaudreuil-Dorion.