This huge Teddy bear was one of the 1

This huge Teddy bear was one of the 1

Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive in Parksville collects more than $11k for SOS

Families travell from all over the Island for the annual event

Tigh-Na-Mara’s Toy Drive last week raised $11,258 in gift cards, cash and cheques, which was more than a $1,000-increase from last year.

The toy drive also collected 1,590 toys over the four-hour period.

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort General Manager Paul Drummond said doors opened for the event at 6 a.m. last Wednesday, but Drummond said some people showed up earlier.

“It was interesting,” Drummond said. “A family of four from Nanaimo, a mom and dad and two little girls, showed up. They wanted their daughters to experience it before school.”

Drummond said in the past they have had people travel from Port Hardy and Victoria to attend the Toy Drive and breakfast.

“The majority of people are from the community,” he said. “But people from the north and south want to be a part of something that’s such a unique experience.”

On the day of the Toy Drive, Society of Organized Services executive director Renate Sutherland said the event is really the start of Christmas for them.

Sutherland said the event is a melting pot of folks who are there to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

“There’s multi-generational families who are in through the door, work groups that have come in together, service clubs that have changed their meetings to come here for breakfast instead of their usual places,” she said.