By 3 p.m. today – just three hours into the 10-hour event – the Toystock donation tables were already full and there was not an empty seat in the house. This put a huge smile on event organizer Greg Simpson’s face.
“I’m very surprised this year. It’s early and we’ve already got a full house. It’s already larger than last year,” he said. “It’s never been this full this early, and we’re not even half way through the day yet.”
Admission to the 6th annual Christmas Cheer fundraiser at Grand Gardens North is by donation of new or gently used toys, non-perishable food items or monetary contributions. Simpson said so far this year, donations have been an even mix of the three. But he wanted to remind the public that Christmas Cheer is also in need of other items, such as toiletry and hygiene products (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.) and items that appeal to teenagers including hair dryers, hockey sticks and gift cards.
“As the years go on, we learn more about what is needed in the community,” Simpson explained.
The entire event is volunteer run, from the sound, music and lighting to the vendors and face painters. This years participating bands include Jeff and Jeff, Case’s Music students, The Bearded Lounge, Sound Check, 3 Day Millionaires, The Paul DellaVedova Band, The Algorythms, The Voyageurs, The Peace Vibe and Bone Yard.
“This year, we have a couple of elves that surprised me. I didn’t even know we were getting elves,” Simpson said, laughing. “That’s what this is about. Whatever happens, happens. It has morphed and I have let the event do its own thing and it’s turning out really cool.”
Toystock continues this evening at Grand Gardens North with activities and live entertainment until 10 p.m.