The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive organizers are once again hoping for generosity and Christmas spirit as they accept toy donations for underprivileged children.
The toy drive, going 32 years strong, kicked off Thursday and until Dec. 16, Nanaimoites can donate toys and gift items for children aged newborn to 16 years.
Carolyn Iles, a toy drive board director, said the goal is to ensure every child in need in the Harbour City has presents under the tree.
“Last year we had just under 1,600 children that we helped, that’s 800 families, and it’s important to know that we don’t just give out one present,” said Iles. “The families can choose a more expensive present or two smaller presents. If they’re under 10, [they get] a stuffed animal, they get a game or an activity kit, they get a book that’s appropriate to their age and they get stocking stuffers.”
Needy families can register at any Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank depot until Saturday (Nov. 22). From Nov. 25 to 29, registration will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at University Village mall. Children’s care cards and a proof of address are required.
While all toy donations are welcome, Iles said items for older children, 12 to 16 years, seem to be short in supply.
“People can think of things they liked as teenagers: fishing rods, flashlights, a lamp, makeup kits for girls, shaving stuff for boys. They all love those [pyjamas], those are always popular,” said Iles. “So those kinds of presents are very sought after and those are the kinds of things we’d love to have.”
The distribution of toys will take place on Dec. 18 and 19 at the gym in the old Harewood school.
Toys can be dropped off at Woodgrove, Nanaimo North Town and Country Club centres, Save-On-Foods locations, Coast Community Credit Unions, Nanaimo Fire Stations 1, 2, 3 and 4, Budget Storage and Rentals, The office of The Wolf and The Wave radio stations and the Port Theatre.