For the past 50 years, Santa’s Workshop has been helping parents in the Comox Valley find gifts for their children, from newborns to 15 years of age.
The process starts each November when volunteers clean, repair, restore and repackage items that have been donated: toys, puzzles, games, books, dolls and bicycles. Parents make an appointment to shop for their children throughout December. Thursday, Dec. 22 was the final shopping day at Newport Village on Kilpatrick Avenue in Courtenay, where this year’s workshop was located.
“They allowed us extra room, and it didn’t cost us anything in the end,” said co-ordinator Donna Kennedy, who has volunteered with the program for about 13 years.
George Luterbach, president of Santa’s Workshop, thanks building owner Sasha Rasovic for returning their rent.
“He came to visit when we were in full bore, and he said he was just taken away,” Luterbach said.
The workshop provided gifts this year for about 500 children. A number of groups, individuals and businesses helped out by donating to the program. ICBC, for instance, contributed $3,000 to provide a helmet for each child who received a bicycle.
“We reconditioned over 250 bikes,” Luterbach said.
Alitis Investment Counsel also jumped on board by organizing a toy drive at its Campbell River and Comox locations. Along with donations, the company contributed $500 for toys to be purchased for Santa’s Workshop.
“We were overwhelmed with the support we received from the community, our clients, and our team,” said Natalie Nguyen, Alitis marketing manager.
Kennedy is amazed at the level of support from Comox Valley residents who, year after year, appear at the workshop with cheques, and who bring in a gift or two — or in some cases a trunk full of gifts.
“It’s all great and it all helps,” she said. “It’s all for a good cause.”