The generosity of Londoners was on full display Thursday morning at the Delta Armories for the Corus Radio London Drive-Thru Toy Drives.
Hundreds of toys and thousands of dollars were collected for the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper program, which began on Wednesday.
980 CFPL, FM96, Fresh Radio and Country 104 raised $19,000 and mountains of toys. There were so many toys donated between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., the lobby at the Delta had to be emptied out three times.
“Last year we’ve had almost 7,000 children that received toys as a part of the hamper program and we expect the need will be just as great,” said Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, London’s former mayor and the chair of the Salvation Army’s kettle campaign. “It’s pretty incredible and incredible generosity that we’ve seen, it really makes your heart warm.”
The Christmas hamper program began on Wednesday and saw hundreds of Londoners line up for the food to make a Christmas dinner and toys for Christmas.
One Londoner braved bone chilling cold and snow squalls to start lining up at 3 a.m. on Wednesday. The Christmas hampers will be handed out at the Progress Building at Western Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and then again next Monday and Tuesday.
Besides toys, money was also donated to the campaign. Canadian Energy Savers donated $7,000 while Downtown Auto Glass donated $3,500. An anonymous donor also contributed $5,000.
“Those anonymous donations just speak to the character people have in this community,” said Salvation Army spokeswoman Shannon Wise. “They don’t expect anything for it, they just want to make sure everybody has a Merry Christmas.”
Children also decided to donate to the toy drive.
7-year-old Hudson Morley from Whalen Corners came to London with his 3-year-old brother Carter to donate toys and money from their piggybanks.
DeCicco-Best says it’s great to see kids helping kids.
“I see so many children that are giving toys, that have been working all year round to just raise a little bit of money because they want to make a difference in the life of another child,” she said.