Top News

Creating holiday memories at ‘toy house’

The annual Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive will launch Monday, Nov. 25 in the ‘toy house’ at Antigonish Market Square. Knights Regis MacDonald, left, Leslie Chisholm, Hugh Richardson and Clarence Deyoung – shown during the 2018 initiative – will be among the volunteers pitching in this year. FILE/THE CASKET
The annual Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive will launch Monday, Nov. 25 in the ‘toy house’ at Antigonish Market Square. Knights Regis MacDonald, left, Leslie Chisholm, Hugh Richardson and Clarence Deyoung – shown during the 2018 initiative – will be among the volunteers pitching in this year. FILE/THE CASKET - Corey LeBlanc

Knights annual drive will run until Christmas Eve

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

ANTIGONISH, N.S. — Santa’s elves in Antigonish are busily preparing for the opening of the ‘toy house’.
The home base for the annual Monsignor Hugh MacPherson Council of the Knights of Columbus toy drive at Antigonish Market Square will start welcoming visitors Monday, Nov. 25.
Volunteers in the workshop will be putting together Christmas packages for families in Antigonish town and county needing a helping hand during the holiday season.
“It is that time of year,” organizer Clarence Deyoung said.
For eight years the Knights have led the initiative to gather contributions — financial and otherwise — from countless givers in the business and broader communities.
“The need is certainly still there,” Deyoung said.
Last year, the campaign touched the lives of 162 families, including 344 children.
“It is interesting that there were 81 families from the town and 81 from the county,” Deyoung noted.
The drive collects not only ‘new and unwrapped’ toys, but also monetary donations used to purchase additional items not collected through contributions.
“There are always things that we need to buy to finish off the children’s wish lists,” Deyoung said.
When it comes to specific items, collecting gifts for teenagers always poses a challenge.
Deyoung recently met with a group of students at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, where he asked them to jot down some suggestions.
“It was a great success,” he noted. “We now have a great list to help fill those needs."
Items for infants, including diapers and clothing, are also an area of need, along with hats and mittens for all ages.
Deyoung said the toy drive will continue its partnership with organizations like the Antigonish Community Food Bank, Naomi Society and Antigonish Women’ Resource Centre which help connect organizers with potential recipients.
“We want to continue to be the ‘go-to place,’ when it comes to helping out families,” he added.
Several weeks before the toy drive launches, Deyoung said people start asking how they can help.
“There are so many ways,” he said.
There is an option to sponsor a family, which provides donors with a list of unnamed children, their ages and gift options.
Many families also use this option to help teach their own children about giving.
Families — not to mention businesses and organizations — also use modified gift exchanges, like secret Santa, to make their contributions.
And, of course, there is always room for volunteers.
“We can always use help in Santa’s workshop,” Deyoung said, with a laugh.
Volunteers can spend time packing and sorting gifts, answering phones or accepting donations.
“We want people to remember that this is a community effort, not just a project of the Knights,” Deyoung added.
In 2018, he noted, several school children pitched in to help.
“It is about kids helping kids, which is great,” he said.
To volunteer, give Deyoung a call at 902-870-3279.
Once it begins, the ‘toy house’ will be open daily, during Antigonish Market Square hours, until Christmas Eve.
There are additional toy and donation drop-off spots at East Coast Credit Union — both St. Andrews and Bergengren locations, Walmart, Atlantic Superstore and Dairy Queen Antigonish.
For more information, including how to make a donation or access the services of the toy drive, call 902-867-2648.

Recent Stories