It’s a strange time for Natalie and Adrian Bercovici.
They aren’t used to this time of the year being so quiet.
Every year, Global News joins the dynamic duo, often referred to as Santa and Mrs. Claus, at a Montreal-area school, where food and toys are handed out to students.
This year marks 21 years the Bercovicis, who founded the Generations Foundation, have been holding a toy giveaway — with the goal of giving a new toy to thousands of children who may not otherwise receive a gift.
“We used to wrap up everything, we had about 10 volunteers here every night,” said Adrian Bercovici.
“Now, we can’t wrap, because we can’t touch. So all we do is we prepare many, many bags, individual boys and girls, for every classroom, for all the different schools.”
In addition to their annual holiday campaign, the organization’s mission is to help make sure children are properly nourished all year round.
It provides hot meals to thousands of students, in over one hundred schools, but the pandemic has forced the foundation to find new ways to deliver and serve them.
“In the old days, we used to put everything on trays, and used to serve it out like you do in the army, on individual plates,” said Bercovici. “We bought dishwashers for the schools, and they can just clean the dishes. Now, everything has to go in a separate container and desserts in another container.”
Another big change this year is the foundation’s fundraising events, which help drive its operations.
“Seagle theatre night, the Scotia run — many, many events that made us over the summer and the spring, about $150,000,” he said. “We’ve lost all that.”
Though that is stressful for the couple, they say they’re remaining optimistic.
They’re hoping for some normalcy to return soon, so that they can continue their operations and resume the activities that make such a positive difference
Those activities include their annual Mega Bloks tour event, when little ones are bused to the company to see toys and Santa.
“We’re gonna talk to Mattel to see if we could still do the train ride,” said Bercovici.
“Christmas in July would be beautiful.”