Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Canadian Tire Money Toy Drive

I've just had the most amazing time!!! Every year for the last five years, I've organized a toy drive in Toronto. Yesterday was shopping day, and today was distribution day.

For my American friends, let me tell you about Canadian Tire. This store is a Canadian institution. It's kind of like Home Depot, minus the lumber, plus home and automotive. When you make a purchase at Canadian Tire, you receive special coupons called CANADIAN TIRE MONEY. This "money" looks sort of like Monopoly money, and is about 5% of your purchase. You can use this "money" in any Canadian Tire store towards any purchase. Lots of people shop at Canadian Tire, and pretty much everyone has some Canadian Tire Money in their wallet. At Christmas, Canadian Tire has a huge toy section. And that's where I come in...

Each year, I collect Canadian Tire Money, I bring it to the store, they match my collection, and I buy toys for needy children.

So, today was the final day of it all. I wanted to share the day with everyone, so here's the letter I sent out to my mailing list today. And I have to tell you, it's a pretty awesome way to spend the days before Christmas:

Hi all,

I have just had the most exciting two days as we've wrapped up this year's Canadian Tire Money Toy Drive. Here are the final results:

Our collection of Canadian Tire Money was ... $1202.95 !!!!!!

Canadian Tire matched our donation penny for penny, for over $2400.00 in toys!

In addition, Mastermind Toys also gave a donation of toys. And, St. John's York Mills Church gave me the toys donated to their mitten tree to distribute.

In total, over 300 toys were distributed today!!!!!

This is so much more than I expected! Some of the toys were brought to Robertson House, a shelter for women and children in downtown Toronto. Last month, I received the shopping list for their 100 children. Yesterday, we brought that list to Canadian Tire and bought a toy for each child. Each toy was valued at $20.00-$30.00, and encouraged sharing and creative play.

After filling the list, we still had more toys! I was directed to Oolagan Community Services, a group that provides free mental health services for children and their families. They received a car-load of toys for their children as well.

Both agencies will give the toys directly to the mothers. This way, the moms can retain the independence of giving the toys themselves, or letting Santa put the toys under the tree.

I am so amazed at the collection of Canadian Tire Money. $1202.95 in 5 and 10 cent pieces. Over 3900 pieces were collected!

Thank you to the Canadian Tire at Sheppard and Leslie for matching our donation! This the fifth year of our toy drive, and they have matched our donation every year. If you need a Canadian Tire, please consider supporting this one.

Thank you to Mastermind Toys for giving us two huge boxes of toys! Your contribution was wonderful. If you are looking for great toys any time of year, please consider purchasing them at any Mastermind location.

Thank you to Bert Chandler for collecting Canadian Tire Money through St. Patrick's Anglican Church.

Thank you to Anne Rawson for organizing a collection of Canadian Tire Money through the Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre.

Thank you to the staff and parishioners of St. John's York Mills Church for their continued support of this toy drive.

Thank you to everyone who mailed in a donation of Canadian Tire Money. Whether it was 5 cents or 5 dollars, it all added up!

Thank you to Hollis, Helen, Gerald, Don, and Bobbi for purchasing and transporting the toys.

And a few final thoughts:

The first year of this toy drive, we bought 11 toys, and I was amazed. I can't believe how much this has grown! It is truly an example of everyone giving a little to make a great change.

We have already started next year's collection! Canadian Tire Money can be mailed any time of year to the address below.

If you are interested in collecting Canadian Tire Money for our toy drive, please just email me and let me know! Whether it's your school, office, or church, we'd love to add your Canadian Tire Money to our collection.

This Sunday, when you're opening your gifts and sharing time with your family, please take a minute and know that, thanks to your contributions, hundreds of children are having a great Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Allison Lynn

Allison Lynn - Toy Drive
c/o St. John's York Mills Church
19 Don Ridge Dr.
North York, ON
M5B 2C2

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