The Salvation Army has started distributing toy and food donations collected through the CHEK Christmas Drive Thru, bringing excitement to those in need.
On Tuesday, registered parents and guardians lined up at the Salvation Army Citadel to pick up toys for their kids.
Cathy Burrows, Salvation Army officer, said families were able to shop through the toys, picking what they wanted to gift their children.
“It’s definitely dignity,” Burrows said. “They get to choose what gifts suit their children so it’s a fun event for them as well.”
This year’s CHEK Christmas Drive Thru raised $92,456, loads of food and over 2,500 brand new toys.
Some parents told CHEK News it was a little overwhelming, but very exciting.
Arthur Belove, shopping for his three-year-old son, said the room looked like “a children’s paradise”.
Belove’s family moved to Victoria in late August to escape the Ukrainian war.
He said he has been applying for jobs, but hasn’t been hired yet making money tight this year.
“We have really less money to buy toys for $20, $50 or $100,” Belove explained. “This is a really good support because kids who are three years old don’t understand that we have no money.”
Melissa Hubley, shopping for her two children, told CHEK News that she is very grateful for this toy drive.
“Without this, I probably wouldn’t have anything for Christmas for my kids. This is definitely really helpful and it means a lot,” She said.
Donations are dwindling fast, according to the Salvation Army.
Burrows said registrations for toys and gift cards are up 30 to 40 per cent this year from previous years, and with less than two weeks until Christmas applications are still flooding in.
“We thought it was big in pandemic times, the need is far greater now. We’re just experiencing so much of people who would normally be able to afford this but can’t right now,” Burrows explained.
The organization is accepting donations for all ages, adding it’s currently low on presents for nine to 10-year-olds.
Burrows said books, board games and family presents like that are also appreciated.
Donations can be brought to the Salvation Army Citadel located at 4030 Douglas St.