From left: Councillor Garett Cochrane, Northwestel's Imran Khan, the Salvation Army's Jason Brinson, Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce president Sandra MacKenzie, and Janice Brinson donate gifts to commence the toy drive. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio
Northwestel and the Salvation Army have launched their annual holiday toy drive, asking Yellowknife residents to drop off toys between now and December 12.
Last year, the initiative resulted in around 170 toys being donated. This Christmas, Salvation Army Yellowknife executive director Jason Brinson says the need will be higher because of the state of the economy.
Brinson said the charity has recently recorded “a 150-percent increase in the need for food service.”
“With those numbers, we anticipate that will roll over into the Christmas supports, of which the toy drive is part,” he said.
Toys for children aged up to 13 years old can be dropped off at Northwestel’s downtown store.
Both gift cards and toys are accepted. Organizers stressed the need for toys to be unwrapped.
“Parents, grandparents, and caregivers will come to our location, and we put the toys out on tables sorted by age group,” said Brinson.
“They can shop for that special item that the child can open on Christmas morning.”
Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce president Sandra MacKenzie called the initiative “a hallmark of the Yellowknife holiday season and one I couldn’t be happier to be part of.”
MacKenzie encouraged residents to shop locally while buying toys for the drive. Northwestel, meanwhile, announced a $5,000 donation as part of the program.