Bears, scrolls and stocking stuffer wishes hang among the branches of a Christmas tree in the lobby of Monterey Recreation Centre.
They don’t tend to last too long there though.
“There’s a real want and a lot if it, I think, has to do with not having grandkids and great-grandkids around,” said Joanne Donohue, Recreation Programmer at Monterey Recreation Centre. “I think a lot of it comes from the fact that a lot of our members here, their grandchildren have grown or don’t live here.”
The CFAX Santas Anonymous bear drive, sponsored by Oak Bay Seniors Activity Association, includes a tree featuring paper bears for seniors to take away and purchase a gift for a child in need. Last year they fulfilled 75 bear wishes and scrolls which solicit cash donations.
“It’s mostly members that do it, I suppose. People love to donate and these are kids,” said Doreen Dupuis, project co-ordinator. “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 a donation.”
Each year seniors swarm the tree fulfilling wishes for children. The centre asks for more bears and this year, they got some stocking stuffer, smaller purchase wishes, for members to fulfill.
“We’ve got an enhanced tree,” said Donohue. “Based on the success and the popularity of the tree … we do have bears and stocking stuffer wishes on the tree this year.”
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. 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 donating, or apply for help, at cfaxsantas.com.
Unwrapped gifts must be dropped off by noon on Dec. 7.