Santa’s Workshop was started in 1972 and has continued to grow ever since.
“What do I get out of it? Enjoyment, smiles on kids faces,” said Heini von Schilling.
He is one of the volunteers at Santa’s workshop in Courtenay who makes Christmas come alive for less fortunate children.
And he?s been doing it for the last 30 years.
“You know we don?t see the faces on the children when they get them but I?m sure that their eyes light up a little bit.” he added.
So far about 220 donated bicycles have been fixed up and polished up and will now find themselves beside a Christmas tree on the 25th.
Other volunteers have been busy itemizing toys of every description for certain ages and wrapping them in clear bags.
It started small in 1972 but the need has continued to grow since then, and this year about 700 Comox Valley children will have gifts to open that otherwise may not have been under the tree.
“There is still a big need out there and I think it?s a lot to do with the job situation,” said volunteer Donna Kennedy. “Of course there so many people that are working part time now, there?s not many full-time jobs.”
Ileana Marshall was visiting Santa’s workshop for the first time Thursday collecting toys for her 1-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.
“It?s so lovely and amazing how much work and love and hours the volunteers put in and the donors put in to the program is very generous and beautiful and I feel very blessed,” she said.
And it?s only possible because of the donations that come from the people in the Comox Valley.
“We had to go over to the Driftwood Mall and I had to go in my truck and we loaded the truck up totally, the whole back of it and in the backseat with toys and stuff that had been donated so that kind of thing makes you feel really good.” said Larry Clary, Santa’s Workshop President.
Santa’s Workshop is located in the former Blockbuster video store on Puntledge Road.