The annual Northwestel Holiday Toy Drive officially wrapped up for 2019 today, with more than 300 gifts collected.
For the past four weeks, donations of toys and presents for northern children have been piling up at Northwestel retail locations in Whitehorse, YT and Yellowknife, NT. Collected gifts will be delivered to northern kids before Christmas as part of seasonal community hamper programs.
In Yellowknife, the Salvation Army distributes toys through its traditional hamper program for local families with children aged 14 and under. Executive Director Jason Brinson says that community support is important to the work they do, helping every family have a happy holiday season.
“We are thankful to Northwestel, who have partnered with us for many years in providing toys to support our Christmas hamper program. For many families, Christmas is a time of celebration and excitement, but for some, it is a difficult time of year,” Brinson said. “Through the community’s generosity, it is our hope that we can bring that same excitement that many of us have during this holiday season.”
In Whitehorse, the Firefighters Charitable Society delivers collected toys to Yukon families through its annual Share the Spirit hamper program. Firefighter Nicholas O’Carroll says the program has grown, now helping families in Yukon communities outside of Whitehorse.
“Our Share the Spirit Christmas hamper program is the largest in Northern Canada,” Nicholas O’Carroll of the Whitehorse Firefighters Charitable Society – Northwestel’s toy drive partner in Yukon said. “Without local partners like Northwestel and their Toy Drive, we would struggle to bring happiness and joy this holiday season.”
An annual tradition since 2005, Northwestel’s Holiday Toy Drive collects toys through its retail locations and from employee donations to help support northern families who need assistance during the holidays.
“Northwestel’s holiday toy drive is about building a stronger community, by ensuring that every child has a chance to find something special under the tree this holiday season,” Northwestel President Curtis Shaw said. “We’re thankful for our customers’ generous donations, and we’re proud to continue working in partnership with both these dedicated community organizations toward a very worthy holiday cause.”