Aila Suzuki, left, with her mom Jennifer LeBrun at the toy drive and free skate last year. This year the event is sponsored by Tod Sjogren, BMO Bank Financial Group, and Anthony MacAulay, Notary Public Corp. People can bring a new, unwrapped toy or a cash donation with proceeds going to the Society of Organized Services. The event is scheduled for Dec. 16 from 1-3 p.m. at Oceanside Place Arena. — NEWS file photo

Free skate, toy drive for SOS in Parksville Qualicum Beach

People are asked to be a new, unwrapped toy or cash donations

More than a week before their scheduled toy drive and free skate at Oceanside Place Arena, Todd Sjogren and Anthony MacAulay had already raised $1,400 for the Society of Organized Services.

Sjogren, of BMO Financial Group, and MacAulay, of Notary Public Corp., will once again be hosting their toy drive and free skate at Oceanside Place Arena Saturday, Dec. 16 from 1-3 p.m. People are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy or cash donations, with all proceeds going to the Society of Organized Services for their Caring for Community at Christmas program.

The two sponsored the event in 2016 for the first time and collected $1,000 and about 80 toys, Sjogren told The NEWS Thursday (Dec. 7). This year, Sjogren said, he and MacAulay are hoping to double the donations.

Sjogren said he and MacAulay both have young children and wanted to teach them how to be good community citizens.

“We just thought it was important for them (the children) to realize that not everyone is as fortunate as them and the community needs support in different ways,” Sjogren said.

MacAulay said it felt important to help out the SOS.

“The SOS, they do a lot of good work all through the year, but at Christmastime they do a good job of making sure that everyone gets a Christmas morning,” MacAulay said.

The toy drive will be held during the arena’s Winter Wonderland on Ice, which runs Dec. 15-31 at Oceanside Place. The annual event includes special lighting and decor to make people feel as though they are skating on an outdoor pond at night, states the Regional District of Nanaimo’s website.

Wheelchairs and strollers are welcome.

There are also a few other free skate opportunities: There is a free family skate sponsored by the Parksville Lions and Save-On-Foods on Sunday, Dec. 17 from 12:15-1:45 p.m.

RDN Youth is hosting a free teen skate Dec. 19, from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission and skate rentals are free courtesy of RDN Youth.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is sponsoring a free skate Saturday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Tim Hortons is sponsoring a free skate Dec. 24, from 1-3 p.m.

Winter Wonderland on Ice runs Dec. 15-31. Public skate times vary for Winter Wonderland on Ice.

Costs are: $3.26 for children aged four to 12, $4.35 for students aged 13-18, $6.21 for adults, $4.85 for seniors and $12.60 for families or $16.88 which includes a skate rental.

For more information on the Winter Wonderland on Ice, contact RDN Recreation at 250-248-3252 or view the skate schedules online at rdn.bc.ca/holiday-skate-schedule.

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