Chief James Ramer helped kick-off the 27th annual Toronto Police Auxiliary Toy Drive to give over 3,000 young people in Scarborough the holiday they deserve.
“There are many families in our diverse communities that are unable to provide gifts to their children over the holiday season,” said Ramer. “The past 18 months have been particularly difficult for lower income and our most vulnerable families with the social and financial effects due to COVID-19. This has been extremely challenging for most families. This time of the year is about the children and we would like to help make this year a memorable one for as many as we can.”
Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said the Toy Drive has supported thousands of children, youth and their families over the years.
“Again, our Auxiliary officers are seeking the charitable and generous support from the community, local businesses and students from area schools,” he added. “The Toy Drive can only achieve its goals with this assistance of generous donations. This year again, we have a strong need.”
Auxiliary officer Carrie Malin started the Toy Drive to bring smiles to the faces of children in women’s shelters and community centres.
“I was watching the news one night in 1994 and a story came on about families falling on hard times and the fact they wouldn’t be able to provide toys for their children that year,” she said. “That story haunted me for days and I knew I had to do something to help. I approached the staff sergeant at 42 Division, telling him I had an idea and asking if there was some way Toronto Police could help me distribute toys to families at the time who were living in hotels and motels on the Kingston Rd. strip.”
Over 750 toys were collected the first year.
Picking up the baton, other Auxiliary members have been at the forefront of the event for the last two decades. All toy donations are welcome, but there is always a high demand for toys for boys and girls between the ages of 10-14.
Neighbourhood Community Officers along with 41, 42 and 43 Division members will assist in identifying families in need and make toy deliveries on December 18.
Donations of new unwrapped toy(s) or gift cards for boys and girls of all ages can be dropped off at 41 Division (2222 Eglinton Ave. E.), 42 Division (242 Milner Ave.) and 43 Division (4331 Lawrence Ave. E.)