The 33rd annual Great Nanaimo Toy Drive is underway to guarantee every child in Nanaimo has a present under the Christmas tree.
Annual collection of donated toys kicked off at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday and will take in toys until Dec. 19.
Carolyn Iles, toy drive spokeswoman, emceed the event attended by Nanaimo Fire Rescue, Nanaimo Clippers hockey team, B.C. Corrections staff from Nanaimo Correctional Centre and other organizations, teams and businesses that are regular toy drive supporters turned out for the event.
Isles said the need is greater than ever to support the drive.
“According to Vital Statistics – that’s Nanaimo’s annual check-up publication – there were over 14,000 people in low-income housing and households two years ago and over 15,000 today,” Iles said. “So we have lots more people in our community who are in need, but we have lots more people in our community to give.”
Last year 1,200 children from 600 families received gifts through the drive, which was originally started by Nanaimo Regional Corrections Centre and Altrusa International of Nanaimo in 1983.
Anyone can donate cash or toys for children up to 16 years old by dropping off toys at Woodgrove Centre, Country Club Centre, Nanaimo North Town Centre, Save-On-Food stores, Coastal Community Credit Union branches, the Port Theatre, Nanaimo Museum, Royal Bank of Canada downtown branch, Budget Car and Truck Rental or any of Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s fire halls.
The toy drive is always looking for volunteers, too.
To learn more about the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, how to make a donation or how to become a volunteer for the drive, please visit the toy drive website at www.thegreatnanaimotoydrive.ca.