Toy shop offers gifts with dignity

Black Press' Pennies for Presents helps parents give more to kids

Leila Dobson

There are few things more likely to make the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes than watching a child’s eyes glisten as they open the gift of a toy on Christmas morning.

And for parents, there are few things more fitting in the weeks leading up to Christmas than a stroll through a toy shop to choose just the right gift for their child. That’s why for 35 years the Salvation Army has set up a Christmas toy shop where parents who need a little help can walk the aisles and pick out the perfect gift for their little one.

“The Toy Shop is a magical place,” Salvation Army spokesperson Kyla Ferns said. “It’s so special to watch the faces of parents as they choose the perfect toys for their children.”

The gifts are given to the parents without charge so that poverty does not stand in the way of a child’s merry Christmas.

“The Salvation Army is all about dignity and hope,” program coordinator Pat Humble said. “That’s why we do it this way. The parents can go shopping and take the time to choose the right gift for their child, and it is just like shopping, except that they don’t need to pay.”

This year, the program is funded, in part, by Black Press’ annual Pennies for Presents fundraiser. The campaign has run for 15 years and involves the collection of change and other money at the Black Press office at 818 Broughton St. There are also collection boxes placed in businesses throughout Greater Victoria.

“The campaign is very important to us,” Black Press editorial director Kevin Laird said. “This is our chance to give back to our community.”

Last year’s campaign raised more than $14,000 that was divided among five local organizations. Funds from this year’s campaign will be divided between the Salvation Army and the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.

“We have other campaigns, like our Angel Tag initiative where people can buy toys for the age and gender of their choice, but we find in that program, most people like to buy for small children,” he said. “Pennies for Presents lets us buy those gifts for age groups that are more challenging to accommodate. Older kids and teenagers need presents, too.”

Last year the Salvation Army toy shop gave out more than 5,200 toys to more than 900 children. The Stan Hagen Centre, located at Quadra Street and Hillside Avenue, where the toy shop is located, also helped needy families with more than 1,300 food hampers.

Information on the Stan Hagen Centre can be found at

Donations to the Pennies for Presents Campaign can be dropped off during office hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays) throughout December or at any of the following businesses.

Mayfair Flower Shop – Suite 158-2945 Jacklin Rd  Langford

Quality Cobbler – Suite 140-2945 Jacklin Rd  Langford

Corona Foods – 2155 Sooke Rd

Dodds Furniture – 715 Finlayson Street  Victoria

Heirloom Linens – #380-777 Royal Oak Drive

Red Barn Market – 751 Vanalman Avenue, Victoria

Red Barn Market – 5550 West Saanich Road, Victoria

Red Barn Market – 5325 Cordova Bay Road, Victoria

Peppers Foods – 3829 Cadboro Bay Road, Saanich

Oak Bay Pharmasave – 2200 Oak Bay Ave. Oak Bay

Salon Modello – 2590 Cadboro Bay Road

Slater’s Meats – 2577 Cadboro Bay Rd, Oak Bay

Verico Select Mortgage 105-1497 Admirals Rd, Victoria

Verico Select Mortgage Westshore – 3212 Jacklin Road

Verico Select Mortgage – 1925 Oak Bay Avenue

Verico Select Mortgage – Suite 110-4460 Chatterton Way

Brick Langford – Suite 500-2945 Jacklin Rd

Capital Iron – 1900 Store Street  Victoria

4Cats Art Studio – 2279 Bowker Avenue

Standard Furniture – 758 Cloverdale Ave

Feys+Hobbs Canteen – 2249 Oak Bay Ave.

Goldstream Food Market – 976 Goldstream Ave.






Just Posted

Growing protests over U.S. school shootings felt in Victoria

Greater Victoria School District officials confident about student safety in local schools

Latitude 48 Paddling Club races through Victoria waters

Local team clinched victory in Nanaimo to kick off season that will see them compete in Hawaii

Reconciliation and Mozart features four arias and narration

Net proceeds of the March 24 performance go to Reconciliation Canada

Brentwood Bay hosts 24-hour cancer fundraiser

Monster and Sea 24-hour Paddle is grassroots fundraiser

Greater Victoria police busy with St. Patrick’s Day calls

Victoria police respond to 82 calls for service

Victoria airport terminal expansion under way

Videos posted showing work in progress over the next 27 months

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Most Read