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CFB Trenton elves and friends are Santa’s helpers

By Ross Lees
Santa Claus is getting a huge assist from the RCMP, the Canadian Toy Association, Thomson Terminals and the Canadian Armed Forces.

These organizations are working together as part of the fourth annual “Toys for the North” drive, which distributes toys and diapers to northern children who often do not benefit from large toy drives like their more southerly located fellow Canadian children. It is expected that more than 7,000 children will benefit this year from the program, which sees the toys donated by member companies of the Canadian Toy Association (CTA).

The collected toys are first warehoused and transported to CFB Trenton by Thomson Terminals. Next, the Canadian Armed Forces transport the toys to places like Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Goose Bay. Finally, the RCMP will ensure that the toys get delivered to the isolated northern communities selected to be this year’s recipients in time for Christmas.

RCMP Inspector Todd Gilmore watches the process of transporting toys to northern children begin. Photo Ross Lees

RCMP Inspector Todd Gilmore watches the process of transporting toys to northern children begin.
Photo Ross Lees

“Seven thousand toys will be going to northern communities this year to children that don’t normally see this kind of generosity,” said O Division RCMP Inspector Todd Gilmore.

In the communities, the toys are provided to needy children who are identified by the elders and other community partners in these areas. “I believe the program will continue because there is a need,” he added.

Travelling by plane, the toys will leave CFB Trenton on several aircraft, including the Hercules and the C-17, as they proceed to their next destination, explains Lt.-Col. David Alexander, Chief of Staff.

“2 Air Movements Squadron here on the base is very good at making sure cargo gets to the right destination,” he said.

The loading process begins as the toys and diapers are moved from the transport to the Hercules aircraft. - Photo Ross Lees

The loading process begins as the toys and diapers are moved from the transport to the Hercules aircraft. – Photo Ross Lees

Once the Canadian Armed Forces delivers the toys to their three main destinations, the RCMP has the mechanism required to push the toys into more isolated areas.

“They have partners who will help them at that end. This is very much a multi-faceted effort – from this truck here provided by Thomson, the toys provided by the Canadian Toy Association and their partners, the CAF and the RCMP and their partners. We’re thrilled and excited to support the RCMP on this.”

The toys being shipped have an estimated value of $110,000 and were collected throughout the year by the Canadian Toy Association at toy fairs, Hot Toy events and from supporting companies like MGA Entertainment, Lego Canada, Crayola, Hasbro, Mattel, Jakks Pacific and International Playthings.

“This is an amazing collaborative effort that just gets better every year,” said Al Russell of Thomson Terminals. “On behalf of the Toys for the North partners – Canadian Toy Association, the RCMP and Thomson Terminals, I want to especially thank Canadian Forces Base Trenton for their transport services and Hallmark Canada for donating all the wrapping paper each year. This year, we are also able to add something for the parents – Kimberly-Clark has added a generous donation of diapers and baby wipes that we are going to send north with the toys.”

After the toys arrive at Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Goose Bay, the RCMP and community volunteer groups will wrap and label the toys which will then transported to their ultimate destination – into the hands of happy northern children. Wherever possible, the RCMP and local leaders will coordinate an event where families can gather for a festive day or evening celebration around the toy distribution to every child.

The first pallet is placed inside the Herc. -Photo Ross Lees

The first pallet is placed inside the Herc. -Photo Ross Lees

 

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