Today, MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard spoke about the Santa’s Workshop Initiative in the Legislature. You can watch the video here or read the transcript below.
Once again, a wind has blown in from the North Pole to the Comox Valley. On November 2, there was a bringing of generosity of spirit to grow a giving community. Santa’s Workshop opened once again to receive gently used and loved toys to give to kids in the Comox Valley — children and youth up to the age of 16.
Unique to Vancouver Island, in 1972, Santa inspired Penny Marlowe, a single mom, to become one of his elves. Her kids even helped out. Today some 90 elves volunteer from one hour to five days a week repairing bikes and electronics, cleaning, augmenting and checking that all of the parts of the toys are in working order and that they’re all there.
The elves stick around for decades. Coordinator Donna Kennedy has herself been an elf for only ten years, but the longest-serving and the most honoured elves are John Bernard and Fay Beasley, who have been there for decades.
Santa’s Workshop receives donations of toys and money. Gifts for kids aged 11 to 16 are the hardest to get. They prefer electronic toys, and the generosity of people in the Comox Valley has made sure that youth are not forgotten.
There are a couple of companies which have donated batteries the last couple of years. Toys often need batteries. An example is one company that has those breathing apparatuses for night sleep. They can only use their batteries for test once, and those gently used batteries are being put to good use. A construction company donated three boxes of D-cell batteries. Another great example of the spirit of giving — Santa’s elves were able to provide 214 donated bikes last year.
A family only need provide proof of address and a CareCard to get the toys that they deserve at Christmas. Seven hundred kids have had this opportunity to enjoy Christmas, and it’s thanks to the generosity of spirit of the Comox Valley.