Santa’s Workshop in Courtenay will provide gifts for hundreds of kids this year


WATCH: 70 volunteers are working hard at making Christmas merry for hundreds of children in the Comox Valley. Dean Stoltz reports. 

Inside a small industrial building in Courtenay, toys are piled high and the spirit of giving is felt by everyone.

“We thought it would be very generous,” said Kai O’Brien who was delivery donated gifts with his younger brother and father.

“We’ve talked about it quite a bit and we’ve talked about the importance of giving at Christmas as well.” said his father Chris Hogan.

On the receiving end are people like Sarah Hudson who was choosing gifts to take home for her children.

“This is tremendously helpful for me,” said Hudson. “If I didn’t have their help there might not be more than just one or two things under the tree.”

Santa’s Workshop in the Comox Valley dates back to the 1950s and became a registered charity in 1993 when it helped 100 children. Last year 660 kids received a bag of gifts, a bike or a Barbie.

Michelle Pladzyk is one of the 70 volunteers who make it all happen and she works on making Barbies beautiful for months leading up to Christmas.

“And they get the whole nine yards, the hair is washed, shampooed and curled,” she said.

And then there are the bikes and the team of men plying away in a back room like elves turning each donated bike into a Christmas dream come true.

“Well we strip them all down, grease all the bearings, check the brakes, check the shifters,” said Heini Von Schilling who has volunteered for years.

It all wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers and they all have their own reasons for being here.

“It’s kind of a payback,” said Lyn Sakiyama. “When I was nine I was a recipient of a similar program in Richmond.”

“Yeah we have a lot of experience to go on and most of the volunteers come back year after year after year,” said Santa’s Workshop manager Pat Potratz.

Anyone wanting to sign up for gifts can do so until December 21st at 474 Puntledge Road.

Donations will be accepted until December 14th at these locations.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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