Making Christmas Merry for All

Annual toy drive kicks off

By Mark Hoult Community Press

Trent Hills — Matthias Dinkel brought the Christmas spirit and a pile of stocking stuffers to the Campbellford-Seymour Fire Hall this week.

The 10-year-old Warkworth boy’s generosity helped the fire department and Community Living Campbellford-Brighton launch a new and ambitious toy and food drive involving 14 community businesses and organizations.

Matthias won a draw for a giant stocking full of toys last year at the Bridge Street Dental Centre in Campbellford, and decided his own good fortune could help brighten Christmas morning for other children in the community.

“I wanted to give most of the toys to the toy drive, because I think it’s always nice to give to kids who don’t have as much,” said Matthias, who took a night off from playing hockey in Warkworth to help launch the toy drive.

The Campbellford/Seymour Fire Department and Community Living Campbellford-Brighton have joined forces to spearhead the 2010 campaign to collect toys and food for the Christmas season.

“We’re going to have probably one of the biggest toy drives this town has ever seen,” said Community Living representative Lori Buchan, who was at the fire hall for the first meeting to plan the campaign.

Community Living holds a toy and food drive annually on behalf of the Salvation Army at the community resource centre on Bridge Street. The drive kicks off in early December with an appearance by Santa Claus.

The fire department has collected toys each Christmas for the past 10 years.

Toys are distributed to children in need through elementary schools in Campbellford, said Campbellford-Seymour Fire Department Chief Tim Blake.

“We contacted Hillcrest, Kent and St. Mary’s, and had the toys set up at the fire hall like in a department store,” he said. “The schools had a list of needs, and they picked through and took what they needed, and we still took a truckload to the Salvation Army.”

The new partnership will take the toy and food drive to a new level, Blake said.

“We just want to keep expanding. And we’re hoping to get all the schools in Trent Hills involved.”

An account has been opened at the Royal Bank in Campbellford to take cash donations to purchase food, and additional toys as needed, Blake said. “Everything we can get and anything we can do to make it grow is better for everybody,” he added.

There was an increase in local demand for toys and food last year due to the economic downturn, Buchan said.

“I can foresee us having another year like that again, with people not working,” she said, adding there are a growing number of young families needing help. “There’s definitely always a great need for baby toys.”

Collection boxes for the combined campaign will go into local businesses in late November. Partnering with the fire department and Community Living are the Campbellford Community Resource Centre, Giant Tiger, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, No Frills, Stedman’s, Sharpe’s Food Market, Liquidation World, Campbellford Office Supplies, Ontario Power Generation and Campbellford District High School.

The collection and distribution of toys will take place Dec. 13, 14 and 15, Blake said.

Article ID# 2821236

Young spirit of Christmas Wish Toy Drive

Rolly Ethier, Campbellford EMC

The 2010 Christmas Wish Toy Drive got off to a positive note recently when ten-year-old Matthias Dinkel of Warkworth donated a bunch of toys he won in a dental office draw.

EMC Lifestyles – Campbellford – Ten-year-old Matthias Dinkel is the new face and spirit of the 2010 Christmas Wish Toy Drive, an event designed to make the festive season just a little happier for people struggling to make ends meet.

When he won a giant bagful of toys in a contest sponsored by a dental clinic in Campbellford, Matthias decided he should share his good fortune with other youngsters less fortunate. So he donated his toy assortment to Fire Chief Tim Blake for the Campbellford/Seymour Fire Department toy launch.

When Chief Blake held the inaugural meeting of the Toy Drive committee recently, he invited Matthias and his mom, Carey, over to the fire hall to introduce them to everyone.

Although Matthias, like most ten-year-olds, is a young man with few words, he was asked to explain his donation.

“I just thought I’d like to make sure other kids have a toy under their tree this Christmas and I heard about the Fire Department’s first toy drive held last year,” said Matthias. The Percy Centennial Grade 5 public school student lives in Warkworth. The son of Marcus Dinkel, he’s a high-energy youngster whose passion is playing hockey, mostly in house league but he also plays as a member of the Percy Bulldogs rep team.

Chief Blake already has 11 sponsors on board for the toy drive express so residents can drop off toys and food items at the Resource Centre, Giant Tiger, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, No Frills, Sharpe’s Food Market, Stedmans, Liquidation World, Campbellford Office Supplies, Rona Cashway, CDHS and the Ontario Power Generation.

“First of all we believe Matthias is setting a great example with his donation,” pointed out Chief Blake. “He has earned a little publicity for the generous spirit he is showing as we get this year’s event kicked off on a positive note. With all the sponsors on board we’ve already built a good deal more momentum than we had going last year.”

“With all the extra sponsors already pledged to serve as drop-off points for toys and food, committee members anticipate a thoroughly successful venture,” he noted.

Last year several organizations held their toy drives individually but this time everyone is working together to create what the committee hopes will provide an even bigger scope. The Christmas Wish committee recognizes that because of recessionary times in recent years, there’ll be an even bigger need for toys and food for the Fare Share Food Bank to help less fortunate people through the season.

“I believe there’ll be an ever bigger demand this year,” said committee member Lori Buchan of Community Living. “Campbellford is similar to other communities that have suffered from the economic downturn. I see more young families needing help. We certainly hope residents will once again show their generous nature by helping us make every child’s Christmas special.”

When all the sponsoring merchants are ready, shoppers can get involved by looking for the signs in the stores, taking a tag and buying a gift for a child, and dropping it off at the Christmas Wish toy display tree.