Rob McMillan is ramping up his efforts to collect enough toys to meet the demand from families in need during the holiday season.
Between now and mid-December, McMillan is hitting the streets and finding businesses from Saanich to the Saanich Peninsula to help support his toy drive.
He started his toy drive at Canoe Cove Restaurant last year. As a member of the Sidney Rotary Club, McMillan used the connections between local service groups to get the drive started, contributing to the community’s overall effort to give children in need a more joyful Christmas.
Called Secret Santa: Toys for Tots, McMillan said this year he has taken on a bigger role in the wake of the dissolution of the local Kiwanis club.
“I hope that this will be a new program for years to come,” he said.
This effort, he said, is being run out of his restaurant — with support from the local Lions Club. The News Review incorrectly indicated in the last edition that the Lions were doing it all. They are, in fact, supporting McMillan and his toy drive — as are other local service groups.
“I want to get all of the groups together for this effort,” McMillan explained.
“If we pool all our resources and efforts together, the more people we can help, the better off we will be and the (toy drive) can grow.”
The toy drive is already a shared effort. It partners with the Lions, who operate a food bank in Sidney.
As they hand out hampers to families in need, they direct those with children to the toy drive distribution centre — which McMillian said he hopes will be in Iroquois Park this year, but added he is still talking with the Town of Sidney about that and a site downtown where he can collect people’s donations.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, he continued.
He’s meeting with area businesses to round up donations and other support.
There’s a planned jazz night event at Canoe Cove Restaurant on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m., where people will be invited to bring toys.
McMillan added the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has plans in the works for a big event as well.
Toy drop-off points have been going up quickly — people can bring their donations to the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce office, Cowland Paterson & Co. Accounting Services, Christie-Phoenix Insurance in Royal Oak and the Canoe Cove Restaurant. People can also call McMillan at 250-882-6294.
Distribution of toys will coincide with the Lions’ hamper program, which takes place in mid-December.
Watch the Peninsula News Review for more details as the date approaches.