There will be toys under the trees of families on the Saanich Peninsula once again this year.
In danger of losing the annual Toys For Tots campaign this fall, staff at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney have agreed to take over the effort to collect toys for children in need.
Marketing Co-ordinator for the Winspear Centre, Carey Salvador, says last year’s organizing team could not put the same level of commitment into the program, so the Centre stepped up.
“Last year, the Centre was a drop-off location,” she said. “This year, some of the past organizers had moved away and one of the remaining organizers needed volunteers.
“So, the Mary Winspear Centre took it on in a big way.”
The Centre is now the main drop-off point for people who wish to donate a new, unwrapped gift for children — girls and boys — between the ages of six months and 16 years old.
“For older kids, try buying gift cards,” Salvador suggested.
The Centre is also accepting cash donations. The money will be used to buy gifts for children should their age group come up a little short donations-wise.
There are other drop-off points for the Toys For Tots campaign. The TD Bank on Beacon Avenue is collecting money and the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society is collecting toys and other donations at its Christmas Grotto next to Alexander’s Coffee on Beacon Avenue.
Salvador added the Centre will be looking for volunteers to help with a gift wrapping session on December 13 and 14. People who are interested in helping can call 250-656-0275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, Salvador sad the Centre was involved as well and saw first-hand the generosity of the community.
“We were overwhelmed by the support of the community, by all of the toys they brought,” she said.
There was a half-a-box of toys left over from 2013, she continued, and all will be used in this year’s campaign.
She estimated there were close to 900 toys given out last Christmas.
Parents can register to receive toys from the program through the Sidney Lions Food Bank near Iroquois Park. Toys will be wrapped and organized by gender and age and will be distributed through the food bank after Dec. 14.