The holiday season is a time of giving. But some families aren’t able to give as much as they’d like. Thankfully, dedicated local organizations have spent countless hours organizing Toy Drive fundraisers for families in need. To help spread the word and thank them for their efforts, we wanted to promote annual Toy Drives hosted by the Barrie OPP Auxiliary Unit, the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services, and ROCK 95 and KOOL FM.
THE BARRIE OPP AUXILIARY UNIT “STUFF-A-CRUISER” TOY DRIVE
The Barrie OPP Auxiliary Unit hosted the first “Stuff-a-Cruiser” fundraiser in 1999, says Auxiliary Staff Sergeant and Unit Commander Brendan Higgins. This fundraising technique—of setting up a cruiser near a shopping centre to “stuff” with toys—has become incredibly popular, with dispatches as far as British Columbia now holding annual Stuff-a-Cruiser events for the holidays.
Last year, in partnership with the Barrie Christmas Cheer Program, Barrie’s Stuff-a-Cruiser event raised approximately 167 toys, six large shopping carts of food, and $4,993 in donations. These donations provided roughly 5,000 local residents with children’s toys and gifts, as well as a hamper of food to make a complete holiday turkey dinner.
Cruisers will be ready for stuffing from 11:00am to 7:00pm on December 2nd (at the Barrie South Walmart on Mapleview Drive) and December 17th (at the Barrie North Walmart on Bayfield Street). Higgins urges that toy donations for infants and boys (ages 8-10) are most needed this year, as well as canned food items, rice, and pasta.
THE COUNTY OF SIMCOE PARAMEDICS SERVICES ANNUAL TOY DRIVE
The County of Simcoe Paramedic Services will kick off their 15th annual Toy Drive on November 17th where donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted across Simcoe County until December 18th. Over the last fourteen years, the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services Annual Toy Drive has collected 67,000 toys, 20,000 pounds of food, and approximately $126,000 in monetary and gift card donations for families across Simcoe County. “We look forward to another successful Toy Drive as we make Christmas special for so many of the children and families in need in our communities,” says Warden Gerry Marshall.
Donations can be made at the County of Simcoe Administration Centre in Midhurst between 8:30am and 4:30pm and at all Simcoe County Paramedic stations, where outdoor drop boxes are available. But be sure to not leave monetary donations in drop boxes—only non-perishable food items and new, unwrapped toys.
THE ROCK 95 / KOOL FM TOY DRIVE
“Christmas is a time of giving, and what better way to give than to help a family in need put a toy underneath the tree for a child?” says Norma-Leigh Bunker, Toy Drive Co-ordinator for ROCK 95 and KOOL FM. For the past 28 years, ROCK 95 has hosted their annual Toy Drive to help children and families across our region. KOOL FM, their sister station, joined the Toy Drive ten years ago. “Together, we strive to put smiles on more kids’ faces every year,” says Bunker.
Last year, the ROCK 95 / KOOL FM Toy Drive raised over $100,000 in toys and cash donations. Starting on November 13th, you can help make this year a success by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at a ROCK 95 / KOOL FM donation box or local Canadian Tire. You can also help by making a cash donation at the station, by collecting toys and gift cards at your office holiday party, by putting up a donation box at your place of work, or by offering a discount on services to forward proceeds to this amazing cause!
by Emily Bednarz
Barrie & District Christmas Cheer