The ‘toy house’ is open for business.
That is what organizers affectionately call headquarters for the annual Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive at Antigonish Market Square.
Just like at the North Pole, volunteer ‘elves’ are busily putting together packages for families that need a boost during the Christmas season in Antigonish town and county.
“The support, as usual, has been fantastic,” organizer Clarence Deyoung said, noting an increase in sponsors for the campaign.
It is the seventh year that the Knights have led the initiative, which includes contributions – financial and otherwise – from countless people in the community.
The drive collects not only ‘new and unwrapped’ toys, but also monetary donations. Those monies are used to purchase items that are needed to help fulfill children’s wish lists.
There are many ways in which people can assist with the program, including the ‘sponsor a family’ option, where people are provided with a list of children (no names), ages and gift options.
Deyoung noted many families use this option not only as a way of giving back, but also a learning tool for their children, when it comes to learning about the true meaning of the season – one of giving.
Families – not to mention businesses and organizations – also use modified gift exchanges, such as ‘secret Santa,’ to make their contributions.
“We know it is a tough time for some families and we thought this would be a great way for us to give back to our community,” Eastern Sanitation Limited (ESL) owner Jeff Dee said, when asked about their support.
This is the third year that the Knights’ toy drive has been part of the Antigonish-based company’s celebration of the holiday season.
Dee noted the business matches the donations made by employees.
“We know the great work that is being done and we want to support it,” he said.
Although volunteers are already filling orders, there is time to support the initiative.
The ‘toy house’ will be open daily, during Antigonish Market Square hours, until Christmas Eve. “We will be there as long as we need to be,” Deyoung said.
Along with the ‘toy house,’ there are toy and donation drop-off spots at East Coast Credit Union – both St. Andrews and Bergengren locations, Walmart and Atlantic Superstore.
For more information, including to make a donation or to access the services of the toy drive, call 902-867-2648