Warren Christie gives the gift of time

Last Tuesday afternoon, actor Warren Christie had a break from shooting his new role in the CTV hit series, Motive. He thought the stores would be quiet and hed be able to get a lot of his Christmas shopping done.

The mall was packed. Everyone was stressed the shoppers, the sales staff, the people who were just trying to get from Point A to Point B....

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Hed almost forgotten that he and his wife, Sonya Saloma, had agreed to a friends request to help out that night at Westside Churchs monthly Dinner of Love for people whose concerns in life were a bit more pressing than his.

Youre rushing around thinking I have to get so and so the perfect bag and then you go to a place where someone just wants to come in and get warm and eat, he says.

It would be a cliché to say that he rediscovered the true meaning of Christmas that night, but it did make him stop and become more aware of those who struggle for even the most basic necessities.

Its so prevalent and in front of us, Christie says of the obvious signs of poverty in this city. You promise yourself you wont get numb to it but you do.

He and his wife were touched by the people they met, both the patrons and the volunteers, many of whom, unlike him, do this on a regular basis. They were glad that their four-year-old son, whose perception of Christmas is already a bit skewed, was also able to experience the different kind of gift giving.

Christie was touched by how sweet and thankful everyone was and how easy it was to help. It was not something I sought out but I should have. It was something else.

If youd like to volunteer with the monthly dinners, go to WestsideChurchVancouver.com/dinneroflove. There are many other ways you can volunteer in Vancouver. Websites such as CharityVillage.com, GoVolunteer.ca list dozens of agencies that need help. For the civic minded, the City of Vancouver often requires qualified volunteers for their boards and committees, as well as eco-conscious volunteering opportunities, and pet lovers are always welcome at the BC SPCA.

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