Toys for Tots campaign wraps up

PNR readers have contributed $2,300 in the ongoing Coins for Kids effort

The toys are wrapped and ready for Christmas.

The presents are wrapped with care and this week the Saanich Peninsula Secret Santas began handing out presents to local children in need.

The Toys for Tots campaign is helping families celebrate Christmas by providing a gift to a boy or girl of almost any age. The gifts are being distributed through the Sidney Lions Food Bank.

Toys for Tots spokesperson Steve Duck says the campaign brought in more than 500 toys from generous donors in the community — and more are still coming in. He said people’s generosity again this year was amazing.

“Someone brought in four bags of new toys from Buddies Toys,” he said. “There are some kids that are going to get some phenomenal gifts.”

A pair of local men — Howard and Bob — delivered hand-made wooden toys — a testament, Duck said, to the amount of care and hard work people were willing to put into Toys for Tots.

On the weekend of Dec. 14 and 15, Duck said 12 volunteers were at the Mary Winspear Centre wrapping each toy — in red wrapping for girls, blue for boys and others in a variety of colours that apply to either boys or girls. Sidney Mayor Larry Cross came in on the Saturday, Duck said, offering encouragement to the volunteers and making a donation of his own. It was a gesture, Duck said, that was appreciated by the volunteers.

This week, the presents were being given to families in need to help them get through Christmas with something under the tree for their kids. While the food bank is the initial point of contact, Duck said the Secret Santas are always open to recommendations of people in need from the community.

“It is a way for people to let us know if they think there’s anyone else deserving,” Duck said. “The need is beyond Christmas and can be anytime throughout the year.”

He said while this holiday push is a major event, people are encouraged to think about others all year long.

The Secret Santas continue to collect toys and Duck said they are very grateful to the donations of time and space from local supporters like the Mary Winspear Centre, local volunteers and the Peninsula News Review which has been donating the proceeds from their Coins for Kids campaign to Toys for Tots. PNR readers have raised more than $2,370 in coins and the campaign continues next week.

To find out more about the Saanich Peninsula Secret Santas, look them up on their Facebook page.