As Christmas hamper distribution nears, London Salvation Army issues plea for more toys

Few toys for kids aged eight to 12 could be found at the Western Fair District's Progress Building on Monday. Courtesy The Salvation Army

The London Salvation Army is hoping for a Christmas miracle.

With just days to go before the organization’s annual Christmas hamper distribution program ramps up, many of the tables at the Western Fair District’s Progress Building were sitting empty on Monday.

“We’re pretty set for food, it’s toys where we’re struggling,” said Shannon Wise, spokesperson for the Salvation Army’s Ontario Great Lakes Division.

“There’s going to be almost 7,000 children who need our help this Christmas season, and some of these tables have nothing on them. So we really need that extra Christmas miracle, so to speak.”

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In particular, Wise said they’re in need of toys for children between the ages of eight and 12. “That age group, for some reason, gets overlooked at this time of year,” she said.

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“Things like board games, art and jewelry kits, Lego, even things like bath sets, hair dryers and hats and mitts, specifically, is what we need for ages eight to 12 this Christmas.”

Those looking to donate toys can do so by taking them to the Progress Building at the Western Fair District between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“They are directly and immediately going into hamper bags for kids because we’re that short,” Wise said. “We have volunteers [who] don’t have any toys to pack.”

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Toy donations can also be made at any London Fire Department station, and at Masonville, Westmount and White Oaks malls.

Hamper registration and distribution begins on Wednesday and runs until Dec. 19.

The Salvation Army kicked off the 127th edition of its annual Christmas Kettle Campaign last month with a target goal of $550,000.

During last year’s campaign, the organization says more than 5,400 households received a food hamper and more than 6,000 children received a bag of toys.

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– With files from Matthew Trevithick and Scott Monich

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