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Organizers expecting bigger demand on Santa’s Cause for Kids

- donations can be dropped off at several Essex Centre businesses -


by Sylene Argent

With the holiday season freshly underway, some area businesses are already collecting new, unwrapped gifts for the annual Santa’s Cause for Kids program. And, organizers of this local gift-giving initiative, are happy with the continued support, especially since they suspect this year’s toy drive will be the busiest one yet.

  Constable Joe Meloche of the Essex (M) OPP anticipates there will be more demand on the program on this local initiative this year, with hearing of families experiencing financial stress because of COVID-19. He hopes community members will do what they can to ensure every child in the area has a memorable Christmas.

  Meloche began the Santa’s Cause for Kids initiative in 2001, when he noticed there was a need to be filled in the community. 19-years later, he and his dedicated team of volunteers, from the OPP and Essex Fire & Rescue, are hoping that support continues this year.

  “I think we will be a busier this year, and we will do what we can do,” Meloche said of the program and the pressure he suspects is being put on many area families, due to the pandemic.

Area residents and patrons in the position to give can drop off a new, unwrapped toy at the Essex Home Hardware, TSC, Dollar Tree, Ken Knapp Ford, the Harrow Dollar Discount, Atlas Tube, Ken Lapain & Sons, Red Apple, and the Essex Legion or wherever they see an official “Santa’s Cause for Kids” donation drop off sign. Essex Home Furnishings has also agreed to assist with the program this year.

  Those wishing to donate to the program can do so at these participating locations until around December 19. At this time, members of the OPP and Essex Fire & Rescue will team up to pick up all the donations from the collection sites, which are situated throughout the municipality.

  The collected toy items will then be forwarded to the Essex Area Food Bank, the Salvation Army, the St. Vincent de Paul Chapters in Harrow and McGregor, and the Zeta Kappa Sorority for its Santa’s Sack program. These service organizations will distribute the donations to families facing economic hardships.

  After the pick-up date, donations can be dropped off at Essex Fire Station #1 during regular business hours. Santa’s Cause for Kids will also collect gift cards for youths, aged 16-18. Donations of gift cards can also be dropped off at Essex Fire Station #1.

  Every year, Meloche is pleased to witness the community’s commitment to the program that has one goal, ensuring every local child wakes up to a bright Christmas morning.  

  “It’s the community itself. I’ve been here all my life. We care for our community. Anything we can do to help out, we try to do,” he said of how this program continues to be a success year-after-year.

  Meloche is proud that the annual toy drive has been able to run for so long, and is grateful to the local businesses and community members for their continued support.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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