The Salmon Arm Fire Department is putting on a toy drive this year. Donations can be dropped off at the fire halls on Dec. 5. (File photo)

Salmon Arm Fire Department organizing toy drive for less fortunate families

Firefighters will be collecting donations of gifts for SAFE Society, Shuswap Family Centre

The Salmon Arm Fire Department is testing the waters with their first-ever toy drive in an effort to make the holidays better for families in need.

Steve St. Denis, one of the department’s firefighters, is organizing the toy drive after seeing need in the community, and taking an example from fire departments in neighbouring communities that do similar charitable work.

St. Denis said it is a need that he doesn’t think a lot of people see.

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Toys for the toy drive can be dropped off at any of the four Salmon Arm fire halls on Dec. 5 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. From there, the toys will be distributed by the SAFE Society and the Shuswap Family Centre. Toys should be new and unwrapped. As an alternative, gift cards in $15 increments are also being accepted.

Wanted are gifts for a range of ages, from newborns to 18-year-olds. St. Denis said according to the family centre and the SAFE Society who have facilitated toy drives in the past, it is male adolescents who are often left with the fewest suitable gifts. For them, he said shaving kits and gift cards, giving kids the option to purchase something that reflects their interests or style, are good gift options.

Although it isn’t the focus of the collection, St. Denis said non-perishable food items would also be collected.

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