Fergus Lions to launch retooled toy drive on Nov. 16

FERGUS – The 22nd annual Fergus Lions Reliable Ford Toy Drive will begin on Nov. 16, though the campaign will look decidedly different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope that next year we can resume our normal procedures, but until then, we are counting on the generous support from the community – no different than you have done for over 20 years,” toy drive chairman Gary Waterhouse stated in a Nov. 9 announcement.

Over the last two decades, the toy drive has raised money and collected donations of toys and gift certificates for the Centre Wellington Food Bank’s (CWFB) Christmas Hamper Program to ensure no family goes without presents on Christmas.

This year, due to pandemic restrictions, officials will not collect toys at all, and instead focus solely on the collection of gift cards and cash donations.

While the formal launch event has been cancelled, the drive will kick off on Nov. 16 and run until Dec. 2.

“This does not allow a lot of time, but the food bank requires time to distribute the cards and still allow the families time to use them to purchase the gifts,” Waterhouse explained.

He added cards can be purchased from most stores that sell food, clothing, toys, supplies, etc.

Gift cards can be dropped off at Reliable Ford or, for those that might not be able to get to Fergus, at 124 John Street in Elora.

Waterhouse stressed that all gift cards “must have the original cash receipt attached … so the food bank can distribute them accordingly.”

As usual, the Fergus Lions Club kicked off the drive with a large donation – this year $2,000.

“The Fergus Lions Club and Reliable Ford thank everyone for their consideration and wish you all an early Merry Christmas,” Waterhouse stated.