Rob McMillan’s Canoe Cove Restaurant was busy Sunday with the sounds of scissors cutting through paper and volunteers talking happily amongst themselves.
Volunteer present wrappers from the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, local Rotary Club and more were busily making sure the hundreds of gifts were ready for the start of distribution on Monday. This week, McMillan’s second annual Secret Santa: Toys for Tots campaign is giving presents to children whose families are in need and the organizer couldn’t be happier with the level of support received from the community.
“I’m very happy with the amount of donations from people, the corporate sponsors and more,” McMillan said in between carrying armloads of wrapped presents to waiting vehicles for delivery.
McMillan started the Toys for Tots effort last year, holding events at Canoe Cove and getting out into the community for help.
This year, he stepped up when the local Kiwanis Club folded and could no longer run their Christmas gifts for children campaign.
Enlisting the help of the community and local service groups, McMillan expanded his effort to keep the giving season alive.
He sought the support of local individuals and businesses — including CFAX 1070’s Santa’s Anonymous campaign — to shore up the campaign. That effort also includes the Peninsula News Review’s own Coins for Kids campaign that saw readers donate more than $3,000.
McMillan will be distributing the gifts this week at the soccer club building in Iroquois Park.
Clients of the Sidney Lions Club Food Bank who qualify will be directed to the Toys for Tots distribution area after they receive their food hampers.
“Last year was my first year doing this,” McMillan said. “This year, I had a lot more support and generosity from people.”
One person even donated a large doll house, which McMillan is raffling off to raise money.
Whoever dropped it off, he said, did so without leaving their name and he wanted to thank them for their generosity.
Sunday’s wrapping party had plenty of food and drinks donated and all of the wrapping paper came from Glenn Smith of Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections. He was at Canoe Cove Sunday, helping make sure all of the presents were wrapped.
Distribution of the gifts for kids started Monday and McMillan said he’s grateful to the entire community.
“A big thank you has to go out to the community,” he said. “A lot of people did a lot of work.”