We did it.
Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors came together to make a little bit of Christmas magic for underprivileged kids across the Toronto area.
Thanks to Star readers’ overwhelming generosity, 45,000 vulnerable kids woke up on Christmas morning with a box of gifts under their tree.
With your donations, our intrepid volunteers helped prepare and distribute the boxes across five cities, braving wind and snow, traffic and parking, to deliver what for many children is the only present they’ll receive this year.
“I am thrilled with the overwhelming community response we have received from across the Toronto area,” Torstar President and Toronto Star Publisher John Boynton said. “It makes me proud to know that residents have come together once again, all in the spirit of Santa Claus. Thank you to all our generous supporters who have helped put a smile on the faces of more than 45,000 young kids at Christmas.”
“Now that we’ve accomplished our goal, we can look forward to a wonderful new year knowing that we put a smile on thousands of children’s faces this Christmas,” said the Santa Claus Fund’s director, Barbara Mrozek.
Mrozek relates how she received a note from a woman attending the fund’s annual Christmas concert that described how the donor had been “a proud recipient” of the Star box when she was a child. Growing up poor in Kensington Market, known back then as the “Jewish Market,” she and the other kids who got the boxes would trade the gifts.
“I never realized it then, but the Star box was more than a box filled with goodies,” Ellen Trotman wrote in the note. “It was something to look forward to and more importantly, it brought the community that much closer. Brought it to care. It created an opportunity to get to know those kids you probably never played with or even offered a passing hello.
“Unless you lived it, you have no idea what effect the Star box had on people’s lives and community. So, no. It wasn’t just a box. It was everything good that only happens at Christmas.”
One hundred per cent of the more than $1.7 million raised has gone toward warm clothing, small toys, books, cookies and dental hygiene items for thousands of children from newborns to age 12 in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Ajax and Pickering.
To everyone who donated their time or money, on behalf of everyone at the Star, thank you — and we can’t wait to do this again next year.
Jack Hauen is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @jackhauen