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

Just Posted

Province willing to talk with Lantzville about traffic management for Island Highway

Lantzville councillor plans to ask ministry to install traffic time signs on Highway 19

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lack of coverage of Liberals was ‘chauvinism’

There’s a responsibility to report a balanced gender approach to this campaign, says letter writer

Winter preparation underway for mid-Island highways

Drivers reminded to ready vehicles for changing conditions

Bear sightings up significantly in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Fruit trees number one food attractant, says conservation officer

V.I. Raiders win, wait to find out playoff foe

Raiders defeat Valley Huskers 13-6 in BCFC regular-season finale

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Most Read