Toys on the Turf for 630 CHED Santas Anonymous raises more than $35K

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Elks hosting Fan Appreciation Night' Edmonton Elks hosting Fan Appreciation Night
WATCH: Edmonton Elk David Beard joins Global Morning News Edmonton to preview Fan Appreciation Night on Nov. 5, 2021. The evening will also see the kickoff of one of the city's biggest Christmas fundraisers with the 630 CHED Santas Anonymous Edmonton toy collection drive. – Nov 2, 2021

At Friday’s Edmonton Elks game, fans donated $35,787 in toys and cash donations for the annual Toys on the Turf drive in support of 630 CHED Santas Anonymous.

“It’s a fabulous way to kick (our campaign) off, and we’re really excited that we’re able to have Toys on the Turf again this year,” Santas executive director Angel Benedict said.

“Obviously, the fans and Edmonton are always so generous at the game for both toy donations and donations of cash. So we’re excited to be back again this year.”

Read more: 2021 630 CHED Santas Anonymous campaign ready to get underway

Santa’s volunteers were outside the gates, ready to collect toys and cash donations as the Elks prepared to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

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“Toys on the Turf is a great way for our organization to help support a cause that brings so much joy to kids throughout our community during the holiday season,” Elks spokesperson Evan Daum said.

“Our fans have always been generous in their support of Santas Anonymous, and we’re glad we can continue that tradition with them in person this Friday at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.”

Toys on the Turf was cancelled in 2020 when the CFL season was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benedict said the pandemic led to an increase in assistance from Santas last year and the organization is seeing an increase in applications again this year.

“We know that we should be preparing for at least another 10 per cent increase again this year.”

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Santas Anonymous expects to help around 20,000 Edmonton children this holiday season.

The charity provides gift packages for children from babies to 12 years old, but often needs toys for infants and those seven to 12 to complete those packages.

Read more: 630 CHED Santas Anonymous sees another successful delivery campaign

It’s important shoppers consider play value over price when choosing gifts, Benedict said.

She pointed to things like stacking blocks for infants and LEGO, crafts and board games for the older kids.

Shifts to volunteer at Santa’s Depot this year are now open and workers can sign up on Santas’ website.

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