Bears bring Christmas hopes to Monterey Rec Centre

Santas Anonymous trees share wishes from local children

Doreen Dupuis

Bears invade Monterey recreation Friday to spread seasonal magic across the region.

The CFAX Santas Anonymous bear drive, sponsored by Oak Bay Seniors Activity Association, officially kicks off at the recreation centre with a tree featuring paper bears for seniors to take away and purchase a gift for a child in need.

“We had 50 last year and they went right away,” said Doreen Dupuis, co-ordinator for the project. They sought another 25 that also went out along with scrolls, which solicit donations for the cause.

Santas Anonymous provides families with a hamper that includes food for the holiday season and gifts for children aged 17 and younger.

“The bears have a child’s name on them and what they’d like for Christmas,” Dupuis said.

A Santas bear might include a request for a particular toy or a winter jacket.

The community member who selects that bear can donate the exact item, knowing it will go directly to a specific child in need.

“It’s mostly members that do it, I suppose. People love to donate and these are kids,” Dupuis said.

“A lot of these seniors don’t have children to buy for. And those who don’t like shopping can take a scroll and make donation.”

The gifts are supplemented by toy drives, fundraisers and donations ensuring each child is covered, and those who ask for clothing also receive something fun in their hamper.

Donations typically range from $35 to $40 and should always be new, unused and unwrapped.

Select a bear from the tree in the lobby starting Friday, Nov. 27 and return the new unwrapped gift to reception by noon Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Donations can also be brought to the Santas office at 1420 Broad St. Additional trees are at area malls, including Hillside, Uptown, Mayfair and Westshore. Learn more about how to donate, or apply for help, at cfaxsantas.com.