Celebrity Christmas Food and Toy drive in Langley benefits victims of abuse

By on December 13, 2016

Morgan van Linge (in blue vest) and Rachel Last (in grey jacket) of Langley were thrilled to meet Graham Wardle, star of the CBC television show Heartland, during last year’s celebrity food and toy drive, organized by Langley’s Andy Bhatti. This year’s event takes place Dec. 17. - Langley Times file photo

Morgan van Linge (right) and Rachel Last (centre) of Langley were thrilled to meet Graham Wardle, star of the CBC television show Heartland, during last year’s celebrity food and toy drive, organized by Langley’s Andy Bhatti. This year’s event takes place Dec. 17. — image credit: Langley Times file photo
By Monique Tamminga – Langley Times

Meet Vancouver Canucks legends Dave Babych, Jyrki Lumme and goaltender Kirk McLean at a Celebrity Christmas Food and Toy Drive outside the Langley London Drugs on Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The ’94 Stanley Cup final players will be signing autographs for the donation of a non-perishable food item, unwrapped toy or cash.

All proceeds will go to make Christmas hampers for children and women who are victims of abuse.

The toy drive is being put on once again by drug interventionist and childhood sexual abuse survivor Andy Bhatti.

“This event is put on by survivors supporting survivors,” said Bhatti, of Andy Bhatti Interventions & Addictions Services with Sagewood Women’s Recovery Centre in Maple Ridge.

“Giving back is a key part of recovery,” he said. “We believe since we took from society in our addiction, it’s now time to give back to society.”

The Aldergrove native has biked across B.C. and Newfoundland, and held several successful celebrity poker tournaments to raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse.

His last bike ride was to bring awareness of how little counseling is offered to children who, like him, have experienced sexual abuse.

He kept the abuse a secret, turning to heroin by age 13, to escape the pain.

After years living on the streets and committing crimes to feed his habit, he became clean and now advocates for the rights of child victims.

He also supports Sophie’s Place in Surrey, which helps kids who have experienced trauma, from a satellite office in Langley City.

Sagewood Recovery Centre is the only women’s recovery centre that works with all issues and addiction with doctors to help women with major trauma from sexual abuse.

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