The Castlegar Fire Department and A&W teamed up yet again to make Christmas a better time for children in need.
This Saturday marked the 34th annual Toy Drive for the Castlegar Firefighters and the 15th year that A&W has supported the cause.
From 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. toys, gift cards and cash donations were dropped off at A&W and in return, those donating received a free teen burger with drink.
The toys — as usual — will be going to the Castlegar Community Harvest Food Bank.
Manager/owner Shirley Henderson said the toys were amazing this year, becoming bigger and more impressive as the day went on.
The cash donations do not go out directly with the hampers, instead they are used for the older children who might be past playing with other toys.
Fire Chief Gerry Rempel explained, “We give a lot of the toys to the little kids but it’s the older ones like the teenagers, that get the gift coupons for businesses. Things such as clothes, music or a stereo. That’s the gap where the money is spent.”
In addition to the donations made at A&W Saturday, the Selkirk Saints collected over 90 bears at their Teddy Bear Toss. The Rebels were able to donate close to 100 toques and gloves from the event they hosted at their game December 10. Gifts were also received from Christmas in September, hosted by the Castlegar Golf Club.
Henderson has said that for next year — marking 35 years — they will have something spectacular planned.
“It’ll be a real wing-ding,” Rempel laughed.
The food bank hampers are expected to go out the Saturday before Christmas and the fire department is still accepting donations at the station.
More precise donation amounts will be coming in by Wednesday and will be added to this story.