Over the past 25 years, thousands of children across Halton have received Christmas gifts as a result of the tireless volunteer efforts of the Oakville Firefighters Christmas Toy Drive.
The Toy Drive began 25 years ago, when one Oakville firefighter was inspired to take up a collection to bring holiday cheer to children in the care of child and family service organizations.
Over time, the scope of the Oakville toy drive changed from providing a few gifts to families in need, to today distributing toys and gifts directly to local families, institutions and community agencies supporting children and youth across Halton.
“We sometimes forget that although the Halton community is known for its affluence, there are still many families here who are challenged to provide Christmas toys and gifts to their children. Last year’s drive distributed toys to over 3200 children across Halton and we are working to increase that number this year, so every child in need receives a Christmas present,” says Kurt Merriman, Oakville Firefighters Toy Drive Committee Chair.
How can you help?
If you’d like to donate a gift to the toy drive, you can drop off your unwrapped item at the Oakville Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, November 19 or at any Oakville Fire Station by Monday, December 18 or you can purchase a raffle ticket at Halton Dance Party’s December 2nd dance event. All proceeds from the raffle are donated to the Oakville Firefighters Toy Drive. Last year $1300 from the raffle was donated to the Toy Drive!
It’s important to note that over 40% of the toys and gifts provided are for children over the age of ten. This can be a hard group to buy for as they’ve outgrown little kid toys and often want gift cards or more practical items. Sometimes these kids might also live in group environments where certain types of gifts may be restricted.
Providing a financial donation to the Fire Department Toy Drive is the most practical way to provide a gift to a child or youth’s Christmas this year. Some retailers offer matching donations, so firefighters going to a big box store with a fixed amount of cash, will have that amount matched, doubling their purchasing power.
Be sure to purchase your ticket to the Dec 2nd event early as in addition to the Toy Drive, Little Peter and the Elegants are returning. Be sure to pick up your ticket soon and bring a little extra cash to purchase raffle tickets in support of the toy drive!