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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Santa’s Cause for kids still going strong in 20th year

by Sylene Argent

For the past 20 years, the Santa’s Cause for Kids program has collected new, unwrapped gifts for children of families facing economically challenging times. And it seems the program gets stronger every year, with the great participation and support that continues to be shown from area residents and businesses.

Through this program, area residents and local shoppers are able to purchase a new, unwrapped gift at several local businesses, and place it in a collection depot for pick-up.

On Friday morning, local firefighters with Essex Fire & Rescue and OPP officers collaborated efforts to go pick up the new, unwrapped gifts that local residents and shoppers placed in the Santa’s Cause for Kids drop-off depots.

After spending the morning collecting the donations from the area stores and businesses, new, unwrapped toys will be forwarded to the Essex Salvation Army, the Essex Area Food Bank, the St. Vincent de Paul chapters in Harrow and McGregor, and the Zeta Kappa Sorority for its Santa’s Sack program.

The service organizations will sort and distribute the donations to families facing economic hardships through their Christmas toy giving initiatives.

  Santa’s Cause for Kids Founder and Organizer, Essex (M) OPP Constable Joe Meloche, appreciates the support the toy drive continues to receive, and is grateful the program is still running strong two decades after it was initiated. He said Essex is his hometown and he would not want to be anywhere else. The community is filled with generous people, who always rise to the occasion and donate what they can, whenever there is a need.

In addition to new, unwrapped gifts, gift cards were also collected for the older children, so that they will be able to purchase something of their liking.

Some of the drop-off location included: The Essex Home Hardware, Dollar Tree, Ken Knapp Ford, the Harrow Dollar Discount, Atlas Tube, Ken Lapain & Sons, Peavey Mart, Delta Power Equipment, Canadian Tire, the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) and its Ladies’ Auxiliary, the Bank of Montreal, Rec Health and Fitness, and Watson & Slade.

  In addition to collecting toys for the program, Red Apple also donated $473, which was 10 percent of its proceeds raised during its Fill a Sleight event on December 11.

Countryside Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram also provided a check to support the program, and Essex Home Furnishings forwarded several gift cards. Once Upon a Time Child Care Centre also hosted its own toy collection.

Those who would like to donate can still do so. New, unwrapped toys or gift cards for youths, aged 16 to 18, can be dropped off at Essex Fire Station #1 during regular business hours.

Because of all of that generosity, children of families facing economic hardship will wake up to a surprise under the tree on Christmas morning.


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