Santa’s Workshop “elf” Chris repairs a bike at the back of the workshop in 2018. Photo by Terry Farrell

Santa’s Workshop on pause due to pandemic

“Hopefully next year we will be back.”

For volunteers of Santa’s Workshop, October would normally be spent preparing for the busiest time of the year.

This year, however, the ‘elves’ will be quiet, as the organization which supplies Christmas gifts to children from newborns to 15 years of age will not be operational due to the pandemic.

“We just feel really bad,” says co-ordinator Barb Metheral. “Hopefully next year we will be back.”

Metheral explained volunteers generally begin the hunt for a location in September for where the workshop will be located. The location is used for both members of the public to drop off donations of new and re-usable toys, books, puzzles, games, bikes, electronics and cash as well as a space for volunteers to clean and fix toys and for people to ‘shop’ for children.

In the summer, the organization took a step back to reassess their viability this year.

“When it was time to start looking for a location, things got shut down, so we thought, ‘do we even look for a place?’ We canvassed our volunteers; about seven-eights of them are seniors and asked if they wanted to volunteer this time, and generally, we got no’s.”

Metheral adds the organization also became aware both locations they used last year – for the shop and bike repairs – were occupied. Board members also noted a larger location would be needed in order to properly ensure social distancing protocols were being followed.

RELATED: Santa’s workshop set to get up and running in the Comox Valley

“There were just so many unknowns, especially with things like our used toys, where we would have to do a lot of cleaning and sanitizing. We also don’t know what the (COVID-19) numbers will look like in November and December.”

With more than 70 volunteers assisting with Santa’s Workshop every year, Metheral says it was difficult to visualize how their team would be able to ensure the health and safety of both ‘elves’ and those dropping off and shopping for gifts, particularly when they didn’t have a location in mind.

In past years, Santa’s Workshop has assisted around 250 families a year in supplying gifts.

Additionally, she notes the difficulty as the demand for assistance, particularly around the holiday season, will be even greater this year due to the many people who lost their jobs.

“I hope there are other ways for people to get help. We are planning for next year, but we will wait and see what happens.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Father Charles has devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats and has inspired generations of volunteers to work together to protect and preserve forests and rivers. Photo submitted
Valley environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks near Comox

A Comox Valley family had a meeting with a humpback whale family… Continue reading

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

The Bernice Friesen novel, “Universal Disorder,” will be launched via Zoom on Nov. 14. Photo supplied.
Fat Oyster Reading Series hosting online launch of new novel by Comox Valley author

Fanny Bay’s Fat Oyster Reading Series is going digital, for the launch… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Starting Saturday and continuing until April 3, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will operate at the Native Sons Hall and the parking lot between the hall and the Sid Williams Theatre. (File photo)
Comox Valley Farmers Market secures space

Starting Saturday, Oct. 31, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will expand its… Continue reading

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read