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Great Nanaimo Toy Drive puts out a call for volunteers

Registration for the Christmas charity starts Nov. 16
Alison Douglas, owner of the Children’s Treehouse, left, makes a donation to the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, represented by board member Carolyn Iles. (Photo submitted)

Santa’s helpers are needed as much as ever in a time of COVID-19.

The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive is looking for volunteers as it organizes its annual charity event that seeks to ensure all families can put something under the tree on Christmas morning.

Organizers of the toy drive issued a press release Wednesday detailing some of the health and safety precautions that the charity will have in place for 2020.

“The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive anticipates a greater need this year due to the pandemic; your help is needed to ensure Nanaimo’s children have toys and gifts,” the release noted.

Volunteers aged 18 and up are sought to fill shifts in December during the sorting and organizing period Dec. 8-11, selection and packaging from Dec. 12-13 and distribution Dec. 16-17.

Registration will be held over the phone starting later this month, with parents asked to suggest toys and gifts.

The items most needed include family games, children’s games and puzzles, gift cards, presents for teenagers, books for children and teens of all ages, Lego sets, stocking stuffer presents, and toys for boys and girls in the $25-40 price range. The toy drive is not accepting stuffed animals or used household items this year. Donations may be dropped off at Coastal Community Credit Union, Save-On-Foods, Woodgrove Centre, Nanaimo North Town Centre and Country Club Centre.

To register starting Nov. 16, call 250-323-3076. Parents or caregivers will be asked for a provincial care card number and should be prepared to answer questions to help with gift and toy selection.

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