After spending the last few months in a shelter, watching her six-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter waking up early on a Saturday morning dressed and waiting for Santa to arrive, was the best gift a mother could receive.
Christa was moved to tears by the joy on her children’s faces as Toronto Police Auxiliary Officers made a delivery of toys to their shelter on December 19 alongside Santa to hand out gifts to children.
“I just want to say thank you, it makes it a lot easier for us to be here,” she said, thanking Auxiliary officers.
The annual Auxiliary Christmas Toy Drive delivered over 500 toys to children living in shelters all across Scarborough, including many newcomers to Canada who have never had the opportunity to meet Service members. An additional 1500 were delivered earlier in the month.
Started 21 years ago, out of 42 Division, the toy drive has grown over the years with more Auxiliaries, police officers and community members getting involved.
“I am so proud of this project and our Auxiliaries,” said 42 Division Superintendent Kim Yeandle, who accompanied the toy delivery for the first time.
“It is just an amazing project because if it wasn’t for the efforts of all these folks and everyone who has donated toys, these kids wouldn’t have Christmas,” said Yeandle, who said the smiles on the children’s faces was the best Christmas present she could receive.
Frank, a father living at a family shelter with his two-year-old son, was surprised to see the police delivering toys for children.
“To be honest, this is cool that they did this for kids, they probably haven’t seen police officers like this in this type of environment,” he said. “My son is excited about the presents. I think it makes it a little easier for him to be here… makes him feel like he is at home somewhat.”
Auxiliary officer Kate Korgemagi has been part of the toy drive for the past five years.
“When the kids see us in a positive light like this, it just makes our job a little easier when we are out there when we are trying to do something for the community,” she said. “I don’t think you can put into words when you get to do something so priceless.”