A penny saved might be a penny earned, but paying spare change forward through the News Bulletin’s annual Coins for Kids drive really counts when it comes to making kids’ lives a little better through the holiday season.
Coins for Kids supports the Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club and the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, which collects presents for children of underprivileged families to ensure every child up to age 16 has presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
Carolyn Iles, toy drive spokeswoman, said the need continues to grow in Nanaimo each year. There were about 800 families that signed up for presents for about 1,500 children last year and early registrations this year indicate demand will be even greater for Christmas 2014.
Coins for Kids helps purchase presents for teens, an age group that usually comes up shy on donations each year.
“The contribution from Coins for Kids last year was instrumental,” Iles said. “It comes at a time when we have to fill in those last-minute gaps and that enabled us to make that the age groups for which people have not donated as many as we need. We will be able to ensure that children of that age will receive gifts.”
Families can register for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive at University Village Square until Saturday (Nov. 29).
Linda Janes, Nanaimo Boys and Girls Club south general manager, said Coins for Kids donations helps the organization supply children with warm clothing, food and toys through the winter.
The organization serves about 400 children at its six Nanaimo locations from Chase River to Lantzville.
“We have a large clientele that are well below the poverty line,” Janes said. “So we make sure they’ve got winter clothes and socks and some boots and a good, healthy meal, maybe lunches, maybe they need backpacks for school or school supplies.”
Janes said there has always been more children in need each year and she expects that need to continue to rise in the future.
Donations are being accepted until Dec. 19.
To donate, please drop off coins at the News Bulletin offices at 777 Poplar St., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays or with any Coins for Kids supporting businesses and organizations, including InPrint, Cline Medical Centre, John’s Bedroom Barn, Royal LePage at Brooks Landing, Northridge Fitness Centre, Canadian Tire, Quality Foods at University Village, North Ridge Village and Northfield Road, La-Z-Boy, Harris Mazda, Lakeside Village, MGM Restaurant, Island Natural Markets, Lucky’s Liquor Store, Northgate Liquor Store, and University Village Liquor Store.
For more information on donation drop-off points, please call the News Bulletin at 250-753-3707.