On the same date a church went to court in a bid to continue its drive-in services, another faith organization continued its drive-thru toy collection.
The Salvation Army’s volunteers set up outside Toys "R" Us on St. Matthews Avenue on Friday and Saturday to accept toy donations for families in need this holiday season. Blue Toys "R" Us shopping carts were flipped over on the ground to form a lane for Manitobans to drive-in and donate a toy without getting out of their vehicle. Cars filled the parking lot on Saturday afternoon and people stayed in their cars until a volunteer came to take the toy donations from them.
"We’ve made it a non-event," said Maj. Jamie Rands, The Salvation Army Prairie division secretary for public relations. "Everything is socially distanced. It’s a quick process, something we were able to do that followed all protocols to have a location for the toy drop off."
Rands said the Christian charity talked with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority before the event to ensure they were following all public health protocols. He added he’s confident the two-day event is safe for everyone.
Rands said donations are down compared to last year’s Toy Mountain drive which is usually held at centre court in Polo Park mall. Last year’s drive helped give 37,000 toys to families in need. However, he said around 3,00 toys were donated on Friday and there were more than 50 vehicles lined up at a time to donate toys at the drive-thru event Saturday.
"It’s been a very difficult year for everyone out there, but specifically for those who have lost jobs. Those that are having delayed wages and they’re just fighting trying to figure out how they’re going to put food on their own table, let alone purchase toys for their children," said Rands.
"Obviously we still want to see a smile on every child’s face on Christmas morning and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure the toys, or the monetary donations come in so we can purchase the toys, are there to be able to ensure the families are pleased and everyone is waking up with smiling faces on Christmas morning."
The toy pickup will be different this year too, said Rands. Usually, families come to The Salvation Army Weetamah location and pick out a toy themselves. However, this year families submitted a wish list and volunteers are doing their best to match kids with the right gift. The toys will be available for curbside pickup at a scheduled time.
Rands said toys and monetary donations can be made online at toymountain.ca or dropped off at The Salvation Army Weetamah at 324 Logan Ave. during business hours up until Christmas Eve. Donations can also be dropped off at Ikea where they have a lockbox outside their front door.