SPRINGHILL – Ensuring every child has a gift under the tree Christmas morning may seem like a daunting task, but it’s a challenge supporters of Springhill’s Toys for Tots campaign are more than equal to.
Organized again this year by the Springhill Lions Club, Toys for Tots is kicking off this week and continuing through Dec. 4 with the pickup date set for Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We want to make sure every child in Springhill wakes up Christmas morning with something under the tree for them. The last thing anyone wants to see is for a child to go without a present on Christmas,” Lion Karen Morris said.
The Springhill Lions Club took over responsibility for the program several years ago when the community’s Rotary club disbanded. It has generally operated the program out of someone’s home, but thanks to Dr. Randy and Sandy Ryan the group has a home in the Parkview Professional Centre at 6 McFarlane St. (behind Foodland).
The group has a sandwich board that it will place outside the door to let people know if someone is in the office. People can come in and fill out an application and meet in private with a Toys for Tots representative.
Applicants will need to bring some proof of income, whether it be a paystub or income assistance receipt. The program is for children up to age 15.
Funding from the program comes from CTV’s Christmas Daddies with Springhill’s share being sent to the organization via the Salvation Army. Money for this year’s gift purchases will come from last year’s Christmas Daddies, but the amount of support it receives from the community through individual and group donations makes a huge difference.
“We are very fortunate to live in a very giving community, especially at Christmas,” King Lion Wendy Nelson said. “None of this would be possible without the community’s help.”
The program accepts donations of toys at the centre, the Salvation Army Church (not the thrift store), All Saints Anglican Church, the two pharmacies. It will accept financial contributions at the centre when someone is there or by mail at PO Box 849, Springhill, N.S. B0M 1X0.
Toy donations must be new, the program doesn’t accept used toys.
Morris said the program is missing the Bargain Shop that closed its doors earlier in 2017. She said the business had a wide selection of toys that it got a good deal on while staff there would often hold special events to collect for Toys for Tots. She’s hoping the organization can develop a similar relationship with the Great Canadian Dollar Store that took the Bargain Shop’s place on Main Street.
Last year the program provided gifts for 119 children in 64 families. Morris said the number has been stable for several years, but said the number of families it helps is slowly increasing.