Port Alberni Toy Run teddy bears the gift that keeps on giving

The Port Alberni Toy Run teddy bears are gifts that keep on giving.

Members of the Toy Run executive were at Alberni District Secondary School earlier this month to deliver a handful of cheques to organizations helping students and their families. The ADSS Breakfast Club received $3,000, while $1,000 each went to Eighth Avenue Learning Centre and Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS), and $500 to outreach therapy at the Hilton Centre.

Donated funds came from sales of the special teddy bears, Toy Run president David Wiwchar said.

The Toy Run has supported the ADSS Breakfast Club since the club’s inception 13 years ago, said organizer Melody Burton. Their support has been vital over the past year.

READ: Port Alberni Toy Run helps fund high school breakfast club

“We are still doing the lunch program for some of our most vulnerable, and there are 30 classrooms that are getting food every day,” Burton said. For students that haven’t returned to school but are still in need, hampers are assembled and delivered to their homes, she added.

“We’re trying to reach as many kids as we can.”

There are close to 1,000 students at ADSS now, vice-principal Carl Poole added.

Eighth Avenue Learning Centre is providing outreach to nearly 75 families, vice-principal Nick Seredick said. “We’re providing them with education materials every week as well as food and clothing. Donations like this go a long way in enabling us to continue that level of support.”

The Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS) is “doing pretty much the same thing with children, but also with women that are facing problems with domestic violence,” ACAWS representative Susan Roth said.

Toy Run teddy bears are still available at Buy-Low Foods on Johnston Road in Port Alberni, Weavers Leather in Courtenay and Victoria and any Toy Run member.

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