Classic Rock 98.1 collects toys, cash for Salvation Army

Blair and RV of Classic Rock Mornings, along with Santa himself, collect toys for the Salvation Army's Christmas hamper program at the corner of Richmond and Piccadilly streets, December 11, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Blair and RV)

A yearly tradition at Classic Rock 98.1 in London will mean more gifts for local kids who need them most this holiday season.

Blair and RV of Classic Rock Mornings collected $7,300 in cash and filled a trailer with toys on Friday morning outside of the radio station on the corner of Richmond and Piccadilly streets. All donations will go to the Salvation Army’s Christmas hamper program.

Parents of children aged zero to 12 can get a bag of age-appropriate toys for each of their children through the annual holiday campaign, which aims to ensure every little boy and girl has a gift to open on Christmas morning. However, the Salvation Army in London is currently running low on items for ages one to two.

“We are doing our best to have enough [toys] for those who have registered,” said Rebecca Thiessen, a volunteer and program coordinator at the Salvation Army Centre of Hope. “We’re looking at our resources and we’re seeing that we’re running low.”

Thiessen said there has been a noticeable increase in the number of donations compared to last year, however, the need has also greatly increased during the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19 related changes, distribution of the toys is being done by appointment only at four locations – Silverwood Arena at 50 Sycamore St., the Salvation Army London Citadel at 555 Springbank Dr., the Salvation Army Westminster Park at 1190 Southdale Rd. E., and at the Hillcrest Community Church at 310 Vesta Rd.

More than 4,000 people had already registered and booked pick-up appointments by late November, the Salvation Army said. Last year, the Salvation Army distributed 4,434 food hampers and 6,765 bags of toys to nearly 4,500 families across the London region.

Anyone looking to help the Salvation Army meet its targets for the campaign can still drop off donations at the Silverwoods Arena or The Salvation Army London Centre Of Hope.

-With files from Miranda Chant