Simcoe County Paramedics celebrate 20th toy drive, 103,000 toys collected since start – Barrie


Simcoe County Paramedics are celebrating their 20th annual toy drive for the Southern Ontario community this holiday season with the need higher than ever.

They collected 9,295 toys, 3,952 pounds of food, and $17,841.02 in cash and gift cards, and more donations continue to pour in.

Toy drive organizer and paramedic Greg Sharp said donations this year have remained relatively constant, but the needs of the community have only increased.

“There are challenges for many with the rising prices and cost of living. From what I’ve heard from our local food banks, it’s difficult to keep up with the demand,” Sharp said.

“More people are going through a difficult time than before. Our local charities are always there whether we campaign or not.

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Simcoe County paramedics collected 8,440 toys, 3,700 pounds of food and $17,700 in cash during their 2022 drive.

Provided by Simcoe County

Since its launch 20 years ago, Sharp said the toy drive has collected more than 103,912 toys, 50,424 pounds of food and at least $242,429.40 in cash and gift cards.

« We’ve seen letters that have come back to charities, and they’re sharing them with us about the impact it’s having. People are making the decision to pay utilities and keep the rent paid and maybe considering not having Christmas for their kids and then finding that ability to continue to support both sides,” he said. he declares. « It’s a huge stress reliever at this time of year when expectations are high and money is low. »

All donations collected by the paramedics will go to local charities in the Simcoe County area to be distributed to families in need.

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Although the campaign ended on Monday, Sharp said there were still plenty of local charities in need that could benefit from donations.

“I am grateful to our paramedics who volunteered their valuable time and energy to once again support the annual toy drive,” said Sarah Mills, Simcoe County Paramedic Services Director and Chief.

“I know how difficult it can be to find extra time during the holiday season, but for 20 years staff, paramedic students and volunteers have worked together to ensure donations are collected and distributed there. where they are most needed.

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