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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Santa’s Cause for Kids receives plenty of community support

by Sylene Argent

Because of the tremendous generosity the community displayed, the 2020 Santa’s Cause for Kids program was believed to have received more donations of new, unwrapped toys than what is typically collected every year.

  Essex (M) OPP Community Sergeant Joe Meloche organizes the annual toy collection on behalf of the big guy in the North Pole. He believed there was additional support for the 2020 program because residents wanted to support those in need during a year that was difficult and filled with uncertainty. Residents had a sense that there were families in the community struggling financially because of layoffs and business closures, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

  On Friday, December 18, area Police Officers and Firefighters joined forces to collect the donated toys from an array of businesses within the community. Essex Home Hardware, TSC, Dollar Tree, Ken Knapp Ford, the Harrow Dollar Discount, Atlas Tube, Ken Lapain & Sons, Red Apple, Delta Power Equipment, The Ladies’ Auxiliary at the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201), and Canadian Tire all hosted a toy drop off depot this year. Essex Home Furnishings had also agreed to assist with the 2020 program, Countryside Chrysler, presented a financial donation to the program, and Once Upon a Time Childcare Centre forwarded food donations.

  The collected toy items were then delivered to the Essex Area Food Bank, the Essex 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 then distributed the donations to families facing economic hardships.

  Meloche noted all the donations stayed local to support area families in need, and he is always proud the program is able to help ensure children in the area have 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. Nearly two-decades later, he and his dedicated team of volunteers, from the OPP and Essex Fire & Rescue, are hoping that support continues this year.

   Meloche is also proud the annual toy drive has been able to run for so many years, thanks to community and business support.


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