The recently formed Public Safety Response Team (PSRT) partnered with Scarborough Town Centre on December 16 to collect new unwrapped toys for children in challenged communities.
Constables Mark Joseph and Nathalie Urbas, with assistance from Auxiliary officers Armin Aris and Adrian Williams, greeted busy shoppers at the eastern entrance of the mall.
In exchange for a gift, customers were presented with Toronto Police Service mugs and pins.
“We are using this opportunity to bridge the gap between the police and some of our communities,” said Urbinas. “Because our unit is in 43 Division, we will deliver toys there this year. Perhaps a west-end community will be the beneficiary next year.”
Leanne Donaldson and her three-year-old son, Gavin, made a donation to the toy drive.
“Many kids have very little or nothing and we need to be supporting families in need,” said Donaldson.
Vicki Gosse, who also contributed a donation, agreed.
“People in this city need to help others, especially around Christmas time,” she added.
Inspector Frank Barredo, the PSRT unit commander, was one of the driving forces behind the initiative.
“The holiday season is synonymous with toys for children and it’s a joyous time for most,” he said. “But, for some struggling families, it’s a time of anxiety and stress. Parents barely getting by still want their children to experience the thrill and excitement of unwrapping their very own toy on Christmas morning. Holiday toy drives like this help fill the need and, while modest, can make a huge difference in some children’s lives.”