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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Santa visits Home Hardware, kicks off toy drive

by Sylene Argent

Though this is a busy time of year for Santa Claus, the jolly man in red took the time to participate in a special afternoon held in his honour at the Essex Home Hardware Building Centre on Saturday, which also promoted the annual Santa’s Cause for Kids toy drive.

  Throughout the afternoon, youngsters, and those young at heart, were able to visit Santa to go over their Christmas wish lists, make holiday-themed crafts, and drop off toys for the Santa’s Cause for Kids program.

  Area firefighters were onsite at Home Hardware during the Santa Day to collect new, unwrapped gifts for the Santa’s Cause for Kids program, while promoting fire prevention.

  Home Hardware is one of several locations area residents can drop off gift items for youngsters for the Santa’s Cause for Kids program. Other locations include Kimball Lumber, Ken Knapp Ford, TSC, Dollar Tree, the Harrow Dollar Discount, Atlas Tube, Ken Lapain & Sons, and Red Apple.

  Those wishing to donate to the program can do so at participating locations until Friday, December 13. After that date, donations can be dropped off at Essex Fire Station #1 during regular business hours.

  In mid-December, area firefighters and OPP personnel will pick up the gift items from the drop off locations and deliver them 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.

  In addition to collecting new, unwrapped toys, the Santa’s Cause for Kids program organizers, in past donation drives, have also been able to garner clothes, food items, and monetary donations. The monetary donations are typically used to help purchase items needed that were not donated, such as gift cards for older youths. It is suggested gift cards should be donated directly to Essex Fire Station #1 as well.

  OPP Constable Joe Meloche started the program in 2000 when he saw that there was a need to provide toys to youth of families facing economically stressful times.

  Meloche is always overwhelmed with how generous the community is every year in supporting the program that has one goal, ensuring every local child wakes up to a bright Christmas morning.

  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.


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