The Richmond RCMP will be hosting the sixth annual toy drive in support of the Richmond Christmas Fund on Nov. 21.
The toy drive is one of the Fund’s major events to help under privileged families celebrate the winter holidays.
And while the event may look a bit different this year, the goal is the same – collect enough toys to fill an entire RCMP squad car.
The toy drive will take place outdoors in the Lansdowne Centre parking lot, next to the Canada Line station, on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Community members can drop off their donations of new, unwrapped toys and cash without leaving their vehicles.
Toys will be taken from the trunks of cars by Santa and sanitized by Platinum Proclaim Restoration before placing them in the RCMP vehicle.
This year, a McDonald’s coupon and Herbaland gift bags will be given to each donor instead of a free pancake breakfast.
Families will also be able to take a socially-distanced photo with Santa, CBSA officers and a detective dog from their cars, which will be posted online the week following the event.
Ed Gavsie, president of Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG), which operates the Christmas Fund, said it was a “difficult decision” to not offer the pancake breakfast but public safety had to come first.
“This year, a drive-thru model makes the most sense,” said Gavsie.
“It helps keep people apart, while still giving them a chance to participate in the event.”
Gavsie added that having the toy drive event happening is a victory in itself as they are heavily relying on public donations this year.
“It’s also a testament to the dedication and generosity of the Richmond RCMP, whose members spend countless hours planning and organizing everything.”
Meanwhile, multiple toy drive fundraisers, including the fire hall drive-thru and the Steveston Classic Car Cruise, have been cancelled for the safety of the public, according to Gavsie.
However, he did tell the Richmond News that Richmond’s Canadian Tire businesses have donated a total of $10,000 worth of toys to help out this year.
Each year, the Christmas Fund distributes grocery vouchers to individuals and families in need. Children 11 and under also receive toys, books and sports equipment, while youth aged 12 to 17 are given gift cards.
The program is normally supported by nearly 200 volunteers, who contribute more than 3,000 hours annually. Hundreds of other Richmond residents, businesses, and community groups donate cash and toys.
For more information, go online to RCRG.org/WhatWeDo/RCRGPrograms/richmond-christmas-fund