Joy & Hope Shared Through YSM's Christmas Toy Market
At YSM, our annual Christmas Toy Market always marks a special time of the year. In December 2021, as lockdown restrictions lifted, we were both excited and thankful to invite families back into our Toy Market space to enjoy the familiar personalized shopping experience as in the years before COVID – with social distancing, masks and proper sanitation, of course!
The success of our 2021 Toy Market wouldn’t have been possible without the support of so many – from volunteers, organizations holding toy drives, and donors who donated toys through Genees and elsewhere. In total, 482 volunteer hours were given, over 25 different organizations either did a toy drive or donated money or goods, to provide over 2,800 toys, 3,600 books, and 1,000 knitted items!
For the first time, we were also able to have a draw for a number of video game consoles including a PS5, PS4, and an XBox One for a few very lucky draw winners.
In a year of continued challenges, we were thankful to end 2021 helping 391 families and 862 children receive Christmas joy and start the new year filled with hope. Thank you to all who made our 2021 Christmas Toy Market such a notable success!
Christmas Care Packages
During the month of December, our program staff worked tirelessly to ensure community members had a special – and hearty – holiday season.
With the support of generous donations from numerous churches and organizations, 800 gift bags containing toiletries, winter accessories like mittens and socks, and Christmas treats were distributed to community members who frequent our Food Bank. Additionally, during our annual Bridges Christmas Banquet, 270 community members were served turkey dinners with potatoes, vegetables and gravy, while 100 Christmas hampers stuffed with choices of turkey, chicken, ham or vegetarian options, as well as canned soups, cooking oils, jams, pasta, veggies and fruits, were distributed to YSM program participants.
As well, our Evergreen Centre for Street-Involved Youth hosted a “10 days of Christmas” event which transformed a room into a product showroom. During the event, youth were able to book a time to ‘shop’ and gather whatever clothing, hygiene products and other essentials they needed from the space.
“The real Christmas present were the big plump oranges I saw [in the hampers]. You know what a treat it’ll be to eat them. I’m really happy to see the oranges! Your hampers are really like very special care packages.” – A YSM community member
Feeling inspired? We’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to “the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .
What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at ysm.ca/GIVE6IX.