Parry Sound Emergency Services’ 18th annual toy drive is officially underway.
Jason Predie, local Paramedic, says the service usually kicks off the campaign after Thanksgiving by going to local businesses and collecting monetary donations.
“With those donations, we buy toys for the infants and the teenagers. In the 17 years we’ve collected so far, it was like $285,000 raised. Then on [November] 23rd, 24th, 25th we have ambulances out at Walmart and Canadian Tire and we collect toys for middle-aged kids and so far in the 17 years we’ve collected almost 16,000 toys,” he says.
Predie says the service has seven organizations that they deal with when it comes to where the toys go. There’s the Children’s Aid Society, Esprit Women’s Shelter, the Homelessness Prevention Program, Wasauksing First Nation, the local District Social Services Administration Board, the Salvation Army and the Hope Pregnancy program.
“After the parade is done on the 25th, we go back to the base and we take all the toys and we put them all out of the ambulances and then we fill them back up to whatever organizations are getting what,” he says.
Predie says all the money that’s raised is all kept in Parry Sound and is mostly spent at Mom and Pop stores so the service can give back to the town.
“The EMS, paramedics and the dispatcher, we just organized everything. If it wasn’t for the residents and the businesses and all the kids that come and help us volunteer every year, we wouldn’t be able to do it on our own,” he says. “So we would just like to thank everybody for giving and helping and you know like the hospital for letting us use the equipment, the radio station for getting it out there for us.”
Predie says the campaign is always looking for donations with the service accepting E-transfers to [email protected]