Volunteer at theToys for Tots Drive Thru Event
The Archway Toys for Tots event collected more than 1,500 toys and $24,000 for gifts for children, youth and seniors on Friday, November 26th.
“We weren’t sure how the turnout would be with the ongoing flooding, new location and new format, but once again we were amazed at how many people took the time to purchase and drop off a toy so others could have a better Christmas,” said Rebecca Thuro, a supervisor at the Archway Food Bank.
The rain held off for the entire drive-thru event and the sun even came out for most of the day.
“During a very difficult time for our community, it was a literal ray of sunshine,” said Rod Santiago, the Executive Director of Archway. “This event will go a long way in helping out more than 850 households, which is already 228 more families than in 2020.”
The event moved to Abbotsford Centre after flooding reached the usual host location – Clarion Hotel.
“The Canucks organization was so amazing to work with,” said Patricia Driessen, the event organizer. “They made the new location work on short notice and even provided 600 breakfast burritos so we could still offer a breakfast to-go.”
Santa was onsite during the first portion of the event and there were performances throughout the day by the Ever After Snow Princesses, MEI Chamber singers and a steel drummer. Volunteers from sponsors Envision Financial and Longboard Architectural Products helped organize the growing toy pile throughout the day and the Abbotsford Fire Department and BC Paramedics helped collect donations from the cars.
Those who weren’t able to make the event can still drop off gifts at the Archway Food Bank on 33914 Essendene Ave or make a donation at Abbotsfordfoodbank.com/T4TDonate.
Photo cred: Urban Fig Photography
After the event, the toys were brought to the Archway Christmas Bureau. The Christmas Bureau spreads the holiday cheer and makes Christmas a little brighter for children with toys and gifts available for children of all ages. This year, the Christmas Bureau toy shop location is being hosted by Sevenoaks Alliance Church.
In addition to the free toy shop and Christmas hampers, some families and seniors are matched with individuals and groups in the community who provide gifts and holiday food directly to the household.
“No matter what challenges someone is facing – from flooding, to COVID, loss of a job or illness, we want to make sure people know that others care about them at Christmas and throughout the year,” said Santiago.
Those interested in supporting a family or senior can apply at AbbotsfordFoodBank.com/Christmas by Dec. 14.
Those in need of help from the Christmas Bureau can contact the Archway Food Bank at 604-859-7814 or online at AbbotsfordFoodBank.com/need-food/#Christmas
“We weren’t sure how the turnout would be with the ongoing flooding, new location and new format, but once again we were amazed at how many people took the time to purchase and drop off a toy so others could have a better Christmas.”
The Christmas Bureau at Sevenoaks Alliance Church Before and After Toys for Tots