Penny donations help fill void

The goal of Pennies for Presents is to make sure all children have a gift and a special memory waiting for them on Christmas morning.

Kobe Gray

Opening gifts on Christmas morning creates some of the most enduring childhood memories.

Anticipation from those shiny packages, tearing open the wrapping and playing all day with a new toy are memories most adults carry with them.

But what about the children who don’t have those memories? Or worse, who have memories of other children talking about their wonderful gifts while they sit quietly, hoping no one asks about the toys they never received.

The goal of Pennies for Presents, the News Bulletin’s annual fundraising drive, is to make sure all children have a gift and a special memory waiting for them on Christmas morning.

Pennies for Presents  collects coins during the Christmas season and distributes the donations to three charities – the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Salvation Army and Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club.

Those three groups help fulfill the goal of Pennies for Presents – that no child be left empty-handed on Christmas morning.

Staff at the Boys and Girls Club get to know the kids and their parents well and are able to use the money from the campaign to specifically target what each family may be missing.

“We tend to tailor support of families around their needs,” said Ian Kalina, executive director. “It gives us more flexibility.”

The toy drive collects donations from the community and provides toys, books and other gifts to children from newborn to 17 years of age.

Cash donations are used to purchase gifts for shortages in age groups, which usually is for teens.

The Salvation Army operates similarly, by purchasing items for their Christmas programs.

With a challenging economy, more families are facing difficult choices this Christmas, although Kalina notes that lots of families in Nanaimo make difficult choices every day.

“There’s always more need than can be met,” he said.

To donate to Pennies for Presents, please drop off coins at the News Bulletin’s office at 777 Poplar St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Donations can also be made at InPrint downtown, John’s Bedroom Barn, Northridge Fitness, Canadian Tire, Sink or Swim Scuba, La-Z-Boy, Royal LePage at Brooks Landing and Coast Realty downtown.

For more information, please e-mail or visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lantzville opts against forming social media committee

Committee would have helped district council develop policy on social media behaviour

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary has been fundraising for 120 years

Hospital auxiliary president says group pioneered Wi-Fi at hospitals on Island

Gabriola Island community bus sees 100,000th rider

Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express celebrated milestone Jan. 25

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mayor and council aren’t necessary

Instead of candidates, put municipal priorities on the ballot, says letter writer

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Protesters in Nanaimo preach peace in Iran

Rally sees gathering at Diana Krall Plaza in downtown Nanaimo

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

The Three Bears are down to two after baby bear carving stolen from his perch in Island community

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

Licensed cannabis store opens in Nanaimo’s north end

Mood Cannabis Company’s Metral Drive location opened Jan. 18

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

Most Read