More than 7,000 toys are headed to Canada’s north this Christmas, thanks to the RCMP and the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service.
NAPS Sgt. Jackie George on Friday helped a crew of recruits finish gift-wrapping the presents, readying them for the journey to remote communities in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern Ontario.
It’s the first year NAPs has been involved in the Toys for the North program, a collaboration between the RCMP and the Canadian Toy Association, which provided about $110,000 worth of toys for the cause.
Children in the 34 communities her police service serves will be delighted when the plane lands and the presents, which also include diapers and baby wipes, are handed out.
“We’re going to be able to send packages to each and every one of them,” George said.
The look on the children’s faces makes it all worthwhile, she added.
“It’s a way of letting the communities know that people across Canada care and it’s just a good effort this time of year just to remember,” George said.
Cpl. Marc Bohemier of the RCMP said the program is in its fourth year and also involves volunteer effort from Canada’s armed forces, Kimberly-Clark, Hallmark Cards and Thompson Terminals.
Without their help, many of the children would go without at Christmas, he said.
“Ultimately it’s all about putting smiles on people’s faces, and not just kids,” Behemier said. “It’s about families as well. A lot of the far northern communities across Canada, they don’t have access to stores and brand new toys like the rest of us do.”
It also fosters good relations between police and the people who live in the remote communities, who often have a sense of mistrust when law enforcement officials are involved.
About 1,200 toys were sent to Thunder Bay to be distributed in NAPS’s communities.
It was quite an effort to get to this stage, but a week into it, the toys were almost set to embark on the final leg of their journey.
“When the toys first came last Friday, they were brought up on a Hercules transport plane out of CFB Trenton. Now we’re just packaging them up,” he said.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.