The ‘toy house’ is open for business at Antigonish Market Square.
That’s the affectionate name of the drop-off location for the annual Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus Christmas toy drive.
“Our ongoing donors and supporters deserve a big ‘thank you,’” Clarence Deyoung, one of the toy drive organizers, said.
Along with those who make donations – toys and other items, including monetary ones – the Knights receive support from a variety of other community organizations.
In 2016, the drive benefitted 139 families – more than 300 kids – in Antigonish town and county.
As for the eligibility criteria, recipients must be 15-years-old and younger, and live in Antigonish town or county.
They must come to the aforementioned ‘toy house’ to complete an application.
Applications must be completed, in person, because a utility bill from the past three to four months, which includes a matching name and address for where the toys are going, must also be provided.
Proof that the individual requesting assistance is receiving the Canada Child Benefit, for the children receiving the toys, is also required, such as a deposit slip or cheque stub from the past three to four months.
For both pieces of required information, only a visual check is required and not a copy.
Like in previous years, the Knights have put together a ‘wish list’ for various age groups.
“Ten to 15-year-olds are the most challenging,” Deyoung said in talking about items pinpointed by the drive.
He noted adult board games and ‘bathroom sets,’ including shower gel, shampoo and such toiletries, are “very good” for this age group, along with arts and crafts items.
For children up to three years old, it includes diapers, dolls, teddy bears, mobiles, baby clothes, onesies, bath toys, toys that make a noise, puzzles, hats and mittens.
From age three to five, the list includes dolls and actions figures, cars, trucks, train sets, colouring books and crayons, coloured pencils, books, puzzles, hats and mittens, blocks and Lego.
For five to nine-year-olds, preferred options include educational games and toys, stationery (colouring sets, pencils, crayons, school sets), books, puzzles, word searches, crosswords, hats and mittens, blocks and Lego.
Games and toys, books, body products (shampoo, shower gel), hair accessories, gloves, scarves, hats, craft sets, art books and supplies, I-Tunes cards comprise the list for age nine to 12.
For 13 to 15-year-olds, the items are books, make-up and toiletries (try to ensure no-scent and non-allergic ingredients, if possible), gloves, scarves, hats, T-shirts, hair accessories, art books and supplies, I-Tunes cards and body products (shampoo, shower gel).
For more information about the toy drive, including how to make a donation or access the service, call 902-867-2648 or fax 902-867-2980.
All requests for assistance remain confidential.