As she saw more fortunate kids around Greater Victoria doing Easter egg hunts or getting gifts during the April holiday, Lisa Woo saw a gap in those getting nothing at Easter.
That’s why 10 years ago, she started a program where the community raises money to fill baskets with educational toys and books, candy and essentials for the region’s less fortunate children.
“I figured if I do something small with a whole lot of love, it’ll work out,” Woo told Black Press Media.
The program took off right away, as Woo estimated giving out 30 baskets in the program’s inaugural year, but community donations allowed for 60.
The program now sees more than 100 baskets given out to Greater Victoria kids every year. Woo has also trained her fellow Discovery Toy colleagues to run the program in their respective cities — leading to 3,000 to 4,000 baskets going to kids across North America every year.
The baskets are fully funded by local individual and company donations. Local dentist offices also donate dental hygiene supplies.
|Lisa Woo poses with some of the baskets that will go to less fortunate kids this Easter. (Photo: Lisa Woo)|
Woo partners with Victoria women’s shelters and places providing housing for women and children who are experiencing homelessness. After Woo raises funds and assembles the baskets, the organizations distribute them to the families in order to maintain anonymity.
The local groups involved in the program include the Victoria Women’s Transition House, the Salvation Army’s Stan Hagen Centre for Families, Saint Vincent De Paul and the Cridge Centre for the Family.
“The organizers are over the moon,” she said. She’s told the baskets bring some families to tears when they’re delivered.
Woo’s motivation lies in wanting to make sure every Greater Victoria child has access to quality educational toys “so that they can have a good start in life,” regardless of economic circumstances.
Woo accepts donations for the baskets year-round and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting her website at toylady.ca.
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