Some children that may have been without, will get presents after all.
Staff at the Salvation Army were all smiles stuffing hundreds of toys and sporting goods into shopping carts at the Canadian Tire location in the Hillside Shopping Centre Monday after the franchise replaced hundreds of toys stolen last week from the Salvation Army.
“I think having presents underneath the Christmas tree really makes a Christmas for kids because that is what they think about, they think about… getting up Christmas morning and seeing what is under the tree,” said Salvation Army spokesperson Patricia Mamic. “It also helps those parents who want to give their children those Christmases but are not able to for one reason or another.”
Ten bags of toys stolen from the Stan Hagen Centre for Families made up a quarter of the gifts in the toy shop the Salvation would have gifted to families in need. Canadian Tire store owner Justin Young said his family benefitted from the Salvation Army when he was a child and felt good to be in a position to return the favour at Christmas.
“Growing up we weren’t a family of means, we had six kids at home and my father had left, and Salvation Army had helped us out a couple of Christmases with baskets,” Young said. “I recall one Christmas where if we didn’t have a basket from the Salvation Army we would of had nothing under the tree, so this touches pretty close to home.”
Now a successful businessman, Young hoped to pass on the gift of great childhood memories, times he still looks back on fondly as an adult.
“For a child, the most important currency they can have is a toy. At Christmas it is worth a lot more than money,” Young said. “We have had great support from the community, we just felt this was a way to give back to the community in a really meaningful way. Here was an unfortunate situation that we could turn into a positive.”