Carolyn Iles, director for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, is already gathering up donations for the 39th annual charity event to ensure every child in Nanaimo has gifts at Christmas. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Carolyn Iles, director for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, is already gathering up donations for the 39th annual charity event to ensure every child in Nanaimo has gifts at Christmas. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Organizers set to kick off this year’s Great Nanaimo Toy Drive

Nanaimo charity campaign ensures children have presents under Christmas trees

The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive is set to get underway.

This year’s toy drive officially begins Friday, Nov. 12. The campaign’s goal each year is to make certain every family in Nanaimo has the gifts needed to create Christmas joy for their children.

The toy drive focuses on gathering toys for children and youth from newborns to age 16 and individuals, organizations and businesses are invited to donate unwrapped toys, books, gifts for teens and gift cards, said Carolyn Iles, toy drive director.

From Nov. 12 Dec. 14, drop-off sites around Nanaimo will make it easy for people to donate toys and gifts.

For people who aren’t sure what kids want these days, Iles recommends they ask for advice from children. Gift certificates or gift cards are also a good choice for teenagers who often like to pick out their own presents. People can also check out the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive website for gift suggestions and to find the nearest gift drop-off sites. Donation drop-off sites already set up are at Country Club Centre, Nanaimo North Town Centre, Woodgrove Centre, Save-On-Foods locations in Nanaimo, Coastal Community Credit Union branches, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire stations, Lowe’s and Nanaimo Museum.

Hundreds of families need help around Christmas time, Iles said.

“With COVID we were over 1,000 children last year that we were helping, which was down,” she said. “We anticipate, probably, around 1,200 this year … Nanaimo has about a 20 per cent poverty rate among its families, so there are families in our community who are in need.”

From Nov. 15 to Dec. 3, parents and guardians can register as toy drive recipients by calling 250-933-3240.

Care card numbers or status card numbers for each child are needed to register. Registrants will be given a place, date and time to pick up toys. Parents and guardians will also be asked for toy or gift suggestions for each child.

With COVID restrictions, toy drive volunteers will prepare “Santa stockings” stuffed with toys, games, crafts, books, gifts for each child, Iles said.

For more information visit www.thegreatnanaimotoydrive.ca.

READ ALSO: Great Nanaimo Toy Drive trying to get an early start on collecting books for Christmas



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Charity and Donations