Each year Christmas comes and goes and for most families, Santa’s visit is a foregone conclusion.
The children wake up on Christmas morning to find the tree surrounded in colourfully wrapped gifts, the smell of breakfast wafting through the air.
Unfortunately the jolly fellow in red doesn’t find his way to every home in Thunder Bay.
That’s where the Thunder Bay Professional Firefighters Association steps in.
For decades they’ve take responsibility for the annual Toys for Tots campaign, last year raising more than $160,000 to purchase Christmas presents for the city’s less fortunate children.
They’re hoping, at the very least, to meet that goal again this holiday season.
On Tuesday the campaign officially launched at Intercity Shopping Centre, where for the next several weeks off-duty firefighters will give their time to collect donations from the public.
The money will be used to purchase presents for children in need and then be distrusted to families through the annual Christmas Cheer program.
“It’s as simple as that,” said campaign chairman Paul Penna.
“Little children bring their pennies that they’ve saved up all year because they realize how important it is to have a Christmas and have Christmas presents.”
The need continues to grow in Thunder Bay, Penna added, noting they really haven’t been many changes to the campaign since it first began.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Penna said.
“The work we do is extremely important in the community. And the problem we have with the children who are living in less desirable conditions and may not be getting a substantial Christmas gift on Christmas Day is growing.
“It’s extremely important for us to continue doing what we do and pressing on.”
To kick the campaign off, local Tim Hortons franchise owners presented Toys for Tots with a cheque for $48,160, money raised through the annual Smile Cookie campaign.
Firefighters will be on hand at the mall during regular shopping hours for the next several weeks.