There will be no child wanting for a Christmas toy in Labrador West this year, with $26,000 in toys and cash donated to Toys for Joys.
The idea was the brainchild of local musician Roger Lyon 25 years ago. He wanted to hold a dance and collect toys and money to help children in need in the community. To this day the fundraising effort is well beyond a simple dance and involves the entire community of Labrador west.
The dance, held Nov. 23 at the Legion in Labrador City, is a much-anticipated social event and, as usual, was filled to capacity. It alone raised $8,000.
There were many locations for people to drop off toys at various stores and businesses in Wabush and Labrador City as well.
Todd Kent chairs the eight-member Toys for Joys committee, and says business community participation is "amazing".
Prizes for the dance usually includes two airline tickets from Pal while Fitz's donates two Airmiles tickets. Canadian Tire and Walmart each donated about $2,000 worth of toys — a huge effort towards filling the requests for help the committee receives, while RMS and Northern Inn and Suites gave $1,000 each and are among many more businesses who contribute to the fund.
He says it's difficult to fit everyone in a short space but a list of thank-yous and donations will later be published.
Kent said local musicians volunteered and performed about half a dozen acts to the delight of those in attendance.
"The local music is one of the reasons we get such a good attendance," says Kent. "It's an attraction."
Another big attraction of Toys for Joys is the Bargain Store Fill a Sleigh Day. Customers are presented with the opportunity to donate toys with the store donating 10 per cent of their toy sales to the activity. The RNC is also partners with Fill a Sleigh.
Requests for assistance are handled by the local ministerial association. "They let us know what is needed and then the committee gets them, packs them up wraps them and distributes them," Kent said.
He says there are always lots of volunteers ready and willing to help, from the night of the dance, to toy collection, wrapping, and distribution.
Kent says the committee doesn't know the recipients who receive the gifts but he is sure the gesture is well appreciated.
He also noted toys and cash donations are still coming in.