SIX NATIONS – Community members passing by Weken Toys and Electronics this past Saturday may have noticed several fire trucks in the parking lot, but thankfully they weren’t there for a fire. Six Nations Firefighters were helping to promote a toy and food drive they organized in partnership with the Ontario Works Office to help those in need during Christmas.
The donation drive spanned from 10 am until 3 pm, and another date has been set for this Saturday December 5, to give those that might have missed this weekend’s event the opportunity to donate.
Co-owner of Weken Toys and Electronics, Brian General, explained that allowing the use of the parking lot to host the event was a “pleasure.”
“We’re always happy to help the community, especially the firefighters, they do much for us, they are our protectors. So when they asked, I said it would be our pleasure, because it’s always been our pleasure. It’s been our way to always bring something positive to the community and that’s why this store is here,” he said.
Fire Chief Matthew Miller explained that he thinks the upcoming food drive date will attract more people to help make the event a success.
“We figured today would kind of be the quieter day of the two,” he said. “We’re hoping that next week people will look and say ‘Hey there’s a toy drive and food drive,’ and come out next week.”
“It’s an important thing to me because I remember when I was going to school and living away from the reserve, there was a couple of times I had to go to the local food bank to get through,” he said. “To be in the situation to be able to help out and donate to the food bank is important to me, and I’m trying to pass that on to my children too,” he said.
Jeannie Martin from Ontario Works explained that it’s not just toys that are hoped for.
“It’s the preteens and the teens; they are the ones that we struggle with all of the time,” she said, mentioning that gift cards to the mall, or gift cards to an outlet are preferably the best option when buying for this age group.
To those that are in need this Christmas, Martin says that registration is readily available.
“They register at our office, the Ontario Works Office across from the Village Plaza. They fill out the form, then on those dates (December 9, 10 and 11th) if they need gifts, they come and pick out their toy. They get the toy according to the age group, they get a stocking stuffer, mitts and a book or a colouring book depending on the age,” she said.
The deadline for referrals for the toy and food basket program is Friday, December 4.
The food baskets will be given on December 22.
If anyone would like to help with delivery or would like to volunteer , they are urged to contact Sharon Martin at the Ontario Works Office at 519-445-2084.