Mitch Couch, firefighter from Nanaimo Fire Station 3, deposits a toy into The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive box at Woodgrove Centre. The drive provides toys and presents for the less fortunate. (KARLYU/The News Bulletin)

Mitch Couch, firefighter from Nanaimo Fire Station 3, deposits a toy into The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive box at Woodgrove Centre. The drive provides toys and presents for the less fortunate. (KARLYU/The News Bulletin)

Think about ways to spread joy of giving

Christmas isn’t about gifts and presents as some will say, but it is about giving

The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive has begun and until mid-December, Nanaimo residents can donate new toys, games, and other gift items at various locations throughout Nanaimo.

The charitable campaign has been running for 35 years and has its roots from when Nanaimo resident Dorothy Gasperdone discovered that one of her son’s friends hadn’t received any Christmas gifts and vowed that it would never happen again in her community.

While the toy drive has assisted families in need over the holiday season, Nanaimo still is a city with a reputation for high child poverty. In the latest State of the Child report from The Greater Nanaimo Early Years Partnership, released last Friday, the child poverty rate was 20.9 per cent in 2011 and 24.6 per cent in 2016. The overall poverty rate is 17.3 per cent.

The number of charitable efforts seeking donations always seem to ramp up during the holiday season, but this season sees much commercialization and advertisements blaring out the message to buy gifts and spend money. That can be hard if someone is below the poverty line, especially for the children.

Christmas has become a consumer-driven event, but giving and wanting people to be happy isn’t a bad thing.

While receiving gifts and the desire to receive gifts is waning as I grow older, I remember the joy I felt as a child whenever I opened presents. One of my favourite memories was receiving the Transformer Soundwave for a birthday, which was a robot that transformed into a cassette player and even came with Buzzsaw, a cassette that transformed into a bird.

There are a lot of favourite Christmas memories too. Receiving the Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link video game is among a memorable moment, even though it caused me a lot of grief as I tried to complete it, but that is all part of the fun I suppose.

It’s not always the big things either. While I have found memories of getting a skateboard, I have similar sentiments about finding a mini Star Wars snowspeeder or a G.I. Joe Airborne action figure.

In more recent times, I’ve been happy to receive a bottle of scotch or some fancy coffee or even a DVD of a movie that I like.

I even feel a lot of joy in seeing my younger relatives’ eyes light up when they open a gift I’ve given them during the holidays, as I get a great sense of satisfaction in making others happy. I don’t spend bags of money on the gifts, but I do get something I know they will like.

Christmas isn’t about gifts and presents as some will say, but it is about giving and, in my opinion, giving to the less fortunate, even if it’s only at one time of the year, isn’t a bad thing.

The numbers indicate there is child poverty in Nanaimo and while remedying that will take a while, making sure all the children in need have something under the tree is something that is easier to achieve.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Nanaimo RCMP sought help in locating Jada Charlie-Carlson, 17. (Nanaimo RCMP photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP say 17-year-old girl who was missing has been found safe

Police sought help in locating teen who hadn’t seen her family members for a month

Brian McFadden, vice-president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum, shows elements of a new exhibit there that examines some of the horrors and hardships for women and children in prison camps during First and Second World Wars. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Women in prison camps persevered

Letter writer shares her mother’s recollections of prison camp in Java during Second World War

A light display on Northumberland Avenue was recognized as one of the best in the city last year. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce photo)
Nanaimo’s Christmas light-up event renamed Illuminight

Judging will take place the evening of Dec. 13

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read