With 26 drop boxes around the Comox Valley and more than 350 kids registered for gifts, the organizers behind CV Christmas For Kids say the response to help those in need so far has been “unbelievable.”
However, with a second COVID-19 wave underway and more restrictions in place, vice-president Deb Muckle said numbers may rise to 600 kids and more donations are always being accepted.
“We have no idea what the next few weeks will bring. We’re keeping in contact with (people from) Santa’s Workshop and they told us their registration ramped up the last two weeks of November and the beginning of December,” explained Muckle.
Earlier this year, Santa’s Workshop announced it would not be operational due to the pandemic, so the team from Island Heart of Hope decided to step up and fill the gap.
This year, the group wants to assist to fill in the gap for children and teens ages 0 to 17 within the Comox Valley with new gifts donated by the community for the holiday season through CV Christmas for Kids.
The organization is accepting only new gifts due to the pandemic, but since launching last month, are finding a need for specific gifts.
“Paw Patrol, Lego and Minecraft are our top three demands,” noted Muckle. “Anything electronic, science kits and arts and crafts are also really requested.”
She added there is also a need for gifts for tweens and teens, and Muckle suggested hygiene items, in particular hair and shaving products or fuzzy socks and blankets.
While there still is a need to fill, she said the community has stepped up immensely. Recently, an anonymous individual donated a collection of gift cards in $50 denominations specifically for 17-year-olds.
The group has secured a storage place, and a variety of drop-off locations around the Comox Valley are posted on their website, cvchristmasforkids.com. Muckle is encouraging community members to work within their ‘bubble.’
“If a neighbourhood wants to get together and donate gifts and designate one person to drop them off, that would fall within the COVID rules.”
As registration is increasing, the group plans on holding a COVID-19-safe toy drive Dec. 12 and 13. They are currently finalizing the location, but once secured, it will be announced on their website. It will aim to be a drive-thru style so that those wanting to donate can do so in a socially-distanced manner.
Additionally, while they do have numerous volunteers committed to contactless, single-person delivery of gifts between Dec. 20 and 22, they will continue to take names as the number of recipients may increase and more deliveries may be required.
Muckle is encouraging those who would like to donate purchase from local stores, or people can donate cash or gift cards.
For more information, to donate or to register, visit CVChristmasforKids.com or Island Hearts of Hope on Facebook.