A Brighter Christmas with Toys for the North
THUNDER BAY – Aboriginal News – On Friday, in Thunder Bay, the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) were happily wrapping donated toys for children in northern communities. The donated toys are part of a coordinated effort between the following agencies: RCMP, NAPS, Canadian Toy Association, Thompson Terminals, Canadian Armed Forces, and Wasaya Airways.
These organizations are working together as part of the fourth annual “Toys for the North” drive, which distributes toys and diapers to northern children who often do not benefit from large toy drives like their more southerly located fellow Canadian children. It is expected that more than 7,000 children will benefit this year from the program, which sees the toys donated by member companies of the Canadian Toy Association (CTA).
The majority of the toys are donated by the member companies of the Canadian Toy Association representing Canada’s toy industry. Thomson Terminals provides the warehousing and transportation for the first leg of the journey where the toys are sorted and wrapped. This year Thomson Terminals has designed a special “Toys for the North” truck trailer emblazoned with the logos of all the major partners and donor companies. Along with a generous donation of diapers and baby wipes from Kimberly-Clark and wrapping paper from Hallmark Canada, the fully loaded transport truck rolled down the 401 highway in a transport truck enroute to Canadian Forces Base Trenton. The logistics involved in getting thousands of toys from a warehouse in Toronto to isolated communities is made considerably easier by the Canadian Forces who load the toys (and diapers) onto planes and trucks wherever there is available cargo space, and send them to staging points in Winnipeg, Goose Bay and northern Ontario.
The collected toys were first warehoused and transported to CFB Trenton by Thomson Terminals. Following that, the Canadian Armed Forces transported the toys to places like Winnipeg, Thunder Bay (photos available) and Goose Bay. Finally, NAPS will ensure that the toys that were transported to Thunder Bay get delivered to the isolated northern communities selected to be this year’s recipients in time for Christmas.
The toys being shipped to Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Goose Bay have an estimated value of $110,000 and were collected throughout the year by the Canadian Toy Association at toy fairs, Hot Toy events and from supporting companies like MGA Entertainment, Lego Canada, Crayola, Hasbro, Mattel, Jakks Pacific and International Playthings.
The RCMP members, families and community volunteer groups in the northern communities volunteer their time to wrap and label the toys and get them further on their way to communities which may only be accessible by float plane, ice highway or snowmobile. Wherever possible, RCMP and local leaders coordinate an event where families can gather for a festive day or evening celebration around the toy distribution to every child.
“Our members serve the communities, in which they live and work, in many significant ways each and every day, whether it is through coaching, teaching, mentoring or other volunteer activities,” explained RCMP Inspector Todd Gilmore. “It’s very rewarding to be part of a such a positive force, especially during the holiday season when giving can mean so much, sending a warm message across great distances that we care about all Canadians, all peoples that make up this great country no matter where they live, being part of an effort to bring joy and happiness to children and families in some of the farthest reaches of Canada. “