With their annual Toy Drive, the Low Down and the Wakefield Community Emergency Fund (WCEF) are once again joining forces to bring some extra cheer to those who need it most during this holiday season.
“We all, at some point in our lives, need a helping hand and that is what we’re doing,” said longtime WCEF volunteer, Jacqui Fitzpatrick. “We’re all neighbours. It’s our community. If we can help someone a little, why not? It’s an amazing collaboration. The Low Down, the volunteers, the agencies that support the Toy Drive — it’s a real community effort.”
By partnering with local schools, she said that the drive is able to help families in Wakefield and beyond.
And there is still time to help. Up until Dec. 9, you can bring your new, unwrapped toys to several locations throughout the Hills. For those running a little late, gifts will be accepted at the Wakefield Christmas Market at Centre Wakefield La Pêche, right up to Dec. 10.
This year the director of the Meredith Centre in Chelsea, Amanda DeGrace, said she is excited to announce that the centre will be the new Toy Drive partner in Chelsea.
She explained that the centre will be matching donations made by the public up to 50 gifts or $1,000.
“The Toy Drive and assisting those in our community who are in need is very important to us at the Meredith Centre,” she said.
DeGrace explained that the Meredith Centre is committed to uplifting the community and supporting individuals and partner organizations.
In addition to supporting the Toy Drive, the centre will also be hosting a food bank drive this season, inviting the community to donate non-perishable goods and hygiene items.
Other drop off locations for the Toy Drive are: the Low Down office and Centre Wakefield La Pêche in Wakefield; Alimentation Pilon in Masham; and Epicerie Brennan’s Hill in Low.
St. Mike’s school in Low is involved with the distribution of gifts, explained Fitzpatrick. They put together Christmas food baskets at the school, which include Toy Drive gifts. They know the community and help identify needs, matching gifts with children’s ages and interests, she explained.
Toys are needed for children up to the age of 17, explained Fitzpatrick. It is often easier to find toys for younger kids, she noted, and she invites donors to consider older children when they are giving.
Giant Tiger often helps fill the gaps when trying to match gifts with children of all ages. Cash donations can be made by purchasing an “angel” at Giant Tiger in Wakefield or by donating directly to the WCEF.
“We have helped families in the past and then they often come back and say they want to give back because they’ve been helped by the community,” said Fitzpatrick. She said working with the Toy Drive makes her feel good.
“I don’t have kids of my own and I am on my own. This is my Christmas!” she said.
WCEF volunteers Fitzpatrick and Janice Moore said they encourage families in need to reach out: Fitzpatrick can be reached at 819-459-2018, while Moore can be reached at 819-459-3615.
For more information about volunteering or donating go to wcef-fscw.ca.