Toy Mountain campaign launches to help make Christmas brighter amid pandemic
OTTAWA -- The annual Toy Mountain Campaign, which helps ensure that every child has a gift at Christmas, launched Monday.
With a pandemic still looming, many events had to be cancelled and demand for new toys is on the rise.
Every day leading up to Christmas, Toy Mountain hands out nearly 650 bags of toys containing, each containing three items, for children aged 0-12.
To help Santa make sure that every child has a present under the tree, Toy Mountain coordinator Mark Hoey says the campaign will need more than 100,000 toys.
This year, organizers say there has been an increase in demand, as the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for many families.
"We go through so many toys, we see 30 families an hour," says Hoey. "With people losing their jobs and that sort of thing, people who used to donate to us are now utilizing the program."
The Help Santa Toy Parade, organized by the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association, had to cancel their event in 2020, which greatly cut into the size of Toy Mountain's mountain of toys.
Forty percent of the toys donated to Toy Mountain comes from the parade.
It was the first time since 1969 that the annual parade and fundraiser was cancelled.
The association began selling masks to collect cash. They have also continued fundraising through grassroots efforts and with the help of local businesses. On Monday, parade chair Scott Williams announced the association will be donating $17,000 worth of toys.
Williams says they are doing absolutely everything they can to make sure every kid gets a toy this Christmas.
That's why Frontline Credit Union CEO Steve Kingan says their company had to step up to the plate. They have been long time contributors to Toy Mountain and immediately donated $10,000.
"But our need doesn't stop there we've actually launched a GoFundMe page," says Kingan, who hopes to raise an additional $150,000.
"The power that Santa Claus has behind the scenes to turn the cash in to toys is key."
There are also many locations across the city where you can drop off a new, unwrapped toy. Santa's helpers will do the sanitizing. When you head to the Telesat building at 1601 Telesat Court for pick up hey ask that only "one elf per family attends."