Firefighters deliver toys to Salvation Army
tracey Tong/Metro Ottawa
It wasn’t a fire and they weren’t passing pails, but Ottawa firefighters who formed a bucket brigade yesterday still made a huge difference to many members of the community.
Ottawa firefighters delivered close to 50,000 toys to the Salvation Army’s Toy Depot at the City Centre yesterday. About a dozen off-duty firefighters moved toys from the toy wagon and another large truck into the building.
While lots of stuffed animals, board games, school supplies, action figures and sports equipment moved through the line, larger items — including a toy all-terrain vehicle and a tabletop hockey game — were also donated.
The majority of the toys were collected through the 38th annual Help Santa Toy Parade on Nov. 17 and the 10th annual Parade of Lights on Nov. 24, but other items were purchased with $60,000 that was donated.
Firefighters have always been there for the community, so it only makes sense they be there on Christmas morning, said first-class firefighter and chairman of the 2007 Help Santa Toy Parade, Rob Collins.
“It’s part of the firefighter culture and giving back to the community is very important to firefighters,” he said. “Come Christmas morning, we’re not all as fortunate as our neighbours. We try our best to fill that gap.”
The toys delivered yesterday accounts for a quarter of the toys the Salvation Army needs to help 12,000 children in the community each year, said Perry Rowe, executive director of the Salvation Army’s Ottawa Booth Centre.