The 10th annual Toys for Tots event takes place Sunday, Nov. 27 in Abbotsford to collect toys and donations for the Christmas Bureau program of the Archway Food Bank.
The drop-in event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre, 36035 North Parallel Rd.
The public is invited to bring gifts and enjoy a free buffet breakfast along with entertainment.
Organizers are hoping for a strong turnout as the event returns to in-person after two years of COVID and flood-related interruptions.
With the increased need for food bank services, supervisor Rebecca Thuro estimates they will give out more than 2,500 gifts this holiday season to children, youth and seniors.
“So many families are having difficulty providing enough food, and the holiday season just adds to the financial pressure,” she said.
“We see how relieved caregivers are when they’re able to find the perfect gift for their child and can only imagine all the smiles that happen on Christmas morning thanks to the generosity of our community.”
The Christmas Bureau toy room opens Dec. 1, and all the toys donated at the event will go directly to stocking the currently empty shelves.
Live entertainment will be provided by the Ever After Character Company, Ryan McAllister, the MEI Chamber Singers and Marching Band and Creative Edge School of Arts.
Cliff Prang is returning as the event emcee, and attendees can visit the photo booth, children’s craft corner, and Santa.
While the event title highlights toddlers, gifts are also collected for older children, teens and seniors.
Organizers request that the gifts are unwrapped and new for safety reasons.
Gifts are gathered into a toy mountain that grows throughout the event. Gifts for seniors are gathered under the Seniors Tree, which is sponsored by the Varing Marketing Group.
There is a drive-thru option for those unable to stay long which includes a Starbucks coffee or hot chocolate.
Toys can also be dropped off at the Archway Food Bank during the work week or at drop-off locations at participating sponsors in November.
The Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre partners with Archway to host the event and other long-term sponsors like Envision and Jag’s furniture help cover other event costs and provide volunteers to help run the event.
“Toys for Tots is one of my favourite events of the year,” said event organizer Patricia Driessen. “Watching everyone come together to make sure that children in our community can experience the magic of Christmas is such a great way to kick off the holiday season.”
Visit AbbyToysforTots.ca for more information, including suggested gift ideas.