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April 29, 2004
City recognizes Santa's helpers: Most successful year in Christmas Bureau history
More than 96,000 children (under the age of 13) of low-income families in
Toronto-a record number-received gifts and donations in 2003 thanks to the
efforts of the City's Christmas Bureau, operated by Toronto Social Services.

Today, at a meeting of the Community Services Committee, the City recognized
"Santa's helpers"-Christmas Bureau gift donors and participating community
agencies, organizations and members of the Toronto Public Service-who made 2003
the most successful year in Christmas Bureau history.

Mayor David Miller, together with Councillor Olivia Chow, Chair of the
Community Services Committee and Children's Advocate, presented plaques at the
meeting to the Christmas Bureau donors in recognition of their accomplishment.

"The City of Toronto proudly recognizes the work and generosity of Christmas
Bureau donors-the CHUM/City Christmas Wish, The Toronto Star and the Toronto
Firefighters Association-and all others who made so many children in need happy
over this past holiday season," said Mayor Miller.

Since 1956, the Christmas Bureau has worked with community agencies and
organizations to co-ordinate the distribution of gifts and other donations to
low-income families and children across the city. The Bureau connects
appropriate donors with registered families or individuals; communicates
information to people and organizations requesting or offering help; and
monitors to ensure that sponsor organizations are not duplicating assistance.

"The Christmas Bureau is a shining example of how successful we can be in
bringing people together to benefit Toronto's children, particularly those in
greatest need," said Councillor Chow. "The City recognizes, however, that the
needs of these children continue year-round and that it is our collective
responsibility to continue working to ensure they have a healthy and secure

Courtesy of CHUM/City Christmas Wish, an additional 2,800 children (aged 13 to
15) received $25 department store gift certificates, and 5,400 families (of
four people or greater) on Ontario Works received grocery store gift

Last minute assistance was provided to another 364 families, thanks to the
collective efforts of the Christmas Bureau, donating organizations such as the
Toronto Firefighters Association and CHUM/City, and community partners such as
the Yonge Street Mission, Agincourt Community Services, Saint Vincent De Paul,
Precious Blood Church, The Kurio Foundation, and Dixon Hall.

Media contacts:
Councillor Olivia Chow, Toronto City Council, Children's Advocate, 416-392-4044
Patchen Barss, Communications, Office of Mayor David Miller,



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