With the help of a school friend, Ella Craig collected nearly 900 toys that she donated to the Toronto Police Service Auxiliary toy drive last year.
The grade seven student felt very emotional when she saw the joy on the faces of the children as she helped Auxiliary officers deliver the goodies to shelters and designated priority neighbourhoods.
“I wanted to cry,” said Craig, of seeing the impact it had on children receiving the gifts.
She helped launch of the 21st annual TPS Auxiliary Toy Drive on November 7 at the Toronto Police College.
Graduating to middle school this year, Craig is collecting toys at her new school as well as the former one.
“I am sucker for little kids,” said the grade seven student. “They make me melt and they are so adorable.”
The toy drive has been extended this year to include the entire city.
“Previously, we were in Scarborough and North York, but we have opened it up because there is a need,” said Constable Mark Grey.
Last year, almost 3,000 youth were beneficiaries of gifts through the program.
Chief Mark Saunders supports the toy drive expansion.
“We do not want to see an unhappy child in the City of Toronto,” he said, of ensuring no child misses out at Christmas.
Auxiliary Inspector Tom Manley said new and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at any police Division.
“My real goal is to be able to come up one day and say we are cancelling the toy drive and there is no longer a need,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is that every year, the need gets greater.”
Auxiliary officers will sort the donations that will be delivered to shelters and community organizations on December 19.