Lifestyle

A Toy Story

Breakfast and toys for local children. Tigh-Na-Mara employee Richard Dugas and Society of Organized Services executive director Renate Sutherland pose with the stack of presents for the SOS toy shop. - Steven Heywood photo
Breakfast and toys for local children. Tigh-Na-Mara employee Richard Dugas and Society of Organized Services executive director Renate Sutherland pose with the stack of presents for the SOS toy shop.
— image credit: Steven Heywood photo

An hour or so into Wednesday morning’s breakfast toy drive at Tigh-Na-Mar resort and spa, the cooks had already gone through 60 kilograms of bacon.

And the chef wasn’t hamming it up in the least.

Hundreds of people arrived at the resort for their third annual breakfast toy drive, in support of the Society of Organized Services’ Christmas is for Kids campaign. Between 6:30 and 10 a.m., the resort’s kitchen staff were kept busy, feeding the masses of people who came, both hungry and generous.

“It’s all about the SOS and what they do to help put a smile on people’s faces,” said Tigh-Na-Mara general manager Paul Drummond.

“The response from the community is great,” he added during a quick interview among the throngs of people, lined up for a classic resort breakfast.

Drummond said the first year they held the event, they saw some 600 people and around 800 toys. Last year, it was 800 people and over 1,200 toys.

A little more than an hour-and-a-half into Wednesday’s event, Drummond said, there were 600 people — on pace to nearly double the 2010 numbers.

Maxine Howse, in Parksville from Nanaimo for a day at The Grotto Spa, said she brought a stuffed bear after hearing about the event.

“It’s fabulous, she said. “It’s great for the community to help people like this.”

Families were up early for breakfast, as were business groups and even the Oceanside Generals hockey team.

“Some of the groups holding meetings here this week are here to support the event as well,” added Drummond.

The resort planned to feed upwards of 1,100 people and Drummond noted many of his staff were there as volunteers.

That fact was praised by SOS executive director Renate Sutherland, who was clearly overjoyed at the outpouring of support.

“It’s because of this that we’re able to do (the Christmas is for Kids campaign and toy shop),” she said, adding the event at Tigh-Na-Mara is also about community-building.

“You see many different people sitting together and talking over breakfast,” she said. “That’s the best Christmas spirit, ever.”

The incredible pile of toys for all ages was collected by SOS staff Wednesday and taken to their toy shop. Part of their campaign, the shop is where parents and grandparents in need can go to select gifts for their children or grandchildren.

The annual SOS effort collects toys and other donations so the local service organization can offer people facing a bleak holiday some peace of mind that they can feed their family and have a good Christmas morning.

To find out more about the Christmas is for Kids campaign at the SOS, call 250-248-2093 or visit www.sosd69.com.

 

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