Tales from the Toy Mountain campaign


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This article was published 04/01/2021 (885 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I was a tired elf after spending a few days volunteering at the Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain.
Parents in need of support this past Christmas, and who had registered their children for Toy Mountain, relied on us volunteers to choose the toys that the children would unwrap on Christmas morning. There were toys atop of toys in boxes and bins everywhere you looked with overflowing tables covered in piles of toys categorized by age group.

Working with a wish-list and the child’s age it would generally take a circuit around the gym to gather their toys. Paw Patrol toys were in especially high demand and the plucky pups could be hard to find.

The same with Shopkins and LOLs which went quickly, almost as soon as they were put out. But there were always trucks of every type and description available in many different sizes. There were so many of the perennially- popular Barbies that they even had their own table. Of course, there was even an occasional run on Barbies which would deplete the stock.

It was always gratifying to find a toy that a child had requested and it did happen from time to time.

When you couldn’t find one, it was easy to get caught up in pondering the merits of one toy over another. Would a six-year-old have more fun with a Play-Doh Pumper Barber Shop Playset or a Play-Doh Playful Pies set? The age on the front didn’t tell you much and neither did its weight. And often another circuit of the gym still wouldn’t turn up a Spider-man action figure but only a Superman or Batman — until you were looking for a Batman and could only find Spider-man.

Once you had chosen a toy, you then got on with filling the plastic bag with everything else.

Depending on how the donations held out, each child got one big toy, one small one, a stuffie (yes, even the 12-year-old boys), a little knitted thing like a pair of socks or mittens, or even a pair of plastic summer shoes when we ran out of all else. Next, a couple of tiny stocking stuffers were be added to the plastic bag. Each family, whether there was one child or three, was a;sp given a board game or a puzzle.

Code red restrictions, which left many of us feeling socially isolated, also made getting the toys into the hands of 6,000 children across Winnipeg on Christmas morning even more challenging.

Monetary donations, as well as donations of new unwrapped toys, from countless individuals, companies and organizations helped to ensure that the Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain 2020 campaign was a big success.

Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at annie_hawe@hotmail.com

Anne Hawe

Anne Hawe
West End community correspondent

Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at annie_hawe@hotmail.com

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