The symbol of the Santa Christmas cookie

Tina Rowntree opens her home and heart for the FSNS Christmas Bureau

December 7, 2016

Have you seen the Santa shaped sugar cookie on display at Marilyn’s Boutique? Next to an exquisite red satin gown, it’s a loving reminder of the generosity of many helping the FSNS (Family Services of the North Shore) Christmas Bureau!

For 20 years Tina Rowntree’s homemade Santa cookies have been a parting treat for guests like Marilyn Diligenti and myself, in gratitude for attending the NSFS Christmas Bureau Brunch. This year’s guests donated an astronomical number of toys. Stacked so high under Tina’s Christmas tree, a secondary toy pile was started at the front door (which almost toppled a toy sleigh, indeed higher than the Grinch Who Stole Christmas’s). These gifts, which I am attaching photos of, will soon be bringing joy to less fortunate North Shore boys and girls on Christmas morning.

Earlier, guests such as I received brunch invitations stating, “Everyone is Welcome:” Tina Rowntree would soon be opening the doors of her beautiful, holiday decorated home, to support the FSNS Christmas Bureau. Her co-hosts connected with the community and many generations of friends showed their support. On the morning of the brunch, I was grateful to Tina’s many fabulous co-hosts, including Catharine Wright for their sincere welcome as we exchanged news of our children who graduated from Collingwood School in West Vancouver. It was obvious everyone enjoyed the refreshments and loved the glowing ice cubes!

No event is complete without acknowledgements and words from the heart. On behalf on the Family Services North Shore, Julia Staub French expressed thanks for these donated toys, and our help in ensuring that every low-income family and their children receive a gift on Christmas morning. Tina Rowntree then moved the room to tears with her remarks. Speaking from the heart, she reflected on her own story of need and how 20 years ago this inspired her to make a difference in the lives of others. Tina along with Barb Ingles and Nancy Burke hosted the first North Shore Family Service Christmas Bureau Brunch in 1996. Today, the Santa Cookie is a symbol of the generosity of all the caring people past and present who understand their example, and the true meaning of Christmas.

By Victoria Rogers
December 6, 2016