Toys for Tots event collects gifts for local children

Event supports the Christmas Bureau, providing local families with Christmas supplies

Community members add to a pile of toys at the Toy for Tots event

Community members add to a pile of toys at the Toy for Tots event



A large pile of toys continued to grow through the morning at the second annual Toys for Tots event on Friday.

This year, 1,100 toys and $13,800 in donations were collected, which will go towards helping kids in the community have a merry Christmas through the Abbotsford Food Bank and Christmas Bureau.

Toys gathered at the event will go towards helping kids in the community have a merry Christmas through the Abbotsford Food Bank and Christmas Bureau.

The event ran from 6 to 9:30 a.m. at the Ramada Plaza and included photos with Santa, music from The Heights, Joel Reimer, Marika Siewert and the MEI Choir, and entertainment from local comedian and emcee Clifford Prang.

Last year’s event, the first ever, collected almost $16,000 in cash and more than 900 toys for the bureau.

The Abbotsford Food Bank, which operates as the Christmas Bureau and provides food and gifts to families in need during the holidays, has found itself with some empty shelves leading up to Christmas.

Food bank co-ordinator Dave Murray said the mountain of toys continued to grow through the event.

“I think it’ll be equally as successful as last year.”

The food bank and Christmas Bureau will assist about 4,000 people in the community this holiday season, said Murray.

The event is also good for community spirit, he said.

Planning started in August and about 60 volunteers were on site to help out. He added that the staff of the Ramada also volunteer their time and “without their support it’s just totally impossible.”

Local police, firefighters and paramedics were also on site to assist and contribute.

With the holidays coming, Murray said the food bank is always looking for contributions of all kinds, but as the food bank has about two-to-one buying power, donating money can help stretch a dollar further.

The food bank also has to fundraise to operate through the year, with this year’s goal set at $850,000.

Most of those donations come in December and January, said Murray, and those have to carry them through the year.

Murray said he was thankful for the community support for Toys for Tots and everybody who helped make the event possible.

“This is a community event now … there are so many people engaged.”

For those who would like to contribute to the food bank and Christmas Bureau, visit abbotsfordfoodbank.com or call 604-859-5749.

 

Above photos:

(Top) Volunteers pile on Santa’s knee at the Toys for Tots event.

(Bottom) A child plays near the pile of toys at the Toys for Tots event.

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