Sting assist Salvation Army hamper campaign

(From left to right) Ryan McGregor, David Legwand, Sam Bitten, Derian Hatcher, and Brad Webster stand next to a toy donation made by the Sting to the Salvation Army's Christmas Gift Hamper campaign. 26 November 2019. ( photo by Colin Gowdy)

The Sarnia Salvation Army’s Christmas Gift Hamper campaign received a big boost on Tuesday morning from the Sarnia Sting.

The hockey club dropped off a truckload of toys at the organization’s Confederation Street site, which were collected during the team’s first annual Toy Drive on Sunday versus the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Salvation Army Lieutenant Brad Webster said the donation will go a long, long way.

“It’s beyond what I thought was coming in. They said they were coming by to drop off some toys Tuesday morning, but this is, again, I don’t know any other words but ‘absolutely shocking’ for just how many toys have come in.”

Webster said the initiative benefits around 850 families every year. He said the need looks to be great once again this year.

“We’ve had to open for a couple more days this week — Tuesday’s an extra day, Wednesday’s an extra day, but we’re going to see where our numbers lie, how many more families are in need, if we’re going to need to be open beyond Wednesday, and if so, then we will, we will push. We don’t want to see any families without something under the tree and some food on the table.”

Webster said the need is out there, and that maybe, we’re seeing more people willing to ask for help.

“We’re kind of in the business where we want to be put out of business. I think the reason [for the need] is we see a lot of families living paycheck to paycheck, and it doesn’t take very much to be put into the category of someone in need. It could be a sick child or parent, a car breaking down — if you got a $900 car bill at Christmas time, it’s really hard to recoup those funds. So we’re just here to make sure that every kid has a Christmas, that every family has a Christmas dinner.”

To register for a hamper, head to the Salvation Army at 970 Confederation St. Tuesday or Wednesday between 9:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. with ID and proof of income.

CHOK’s annual Gift of Christmas toy drive, which kicked off November 14, will also benefit the Salvation Army’s Christmas Gift Hamper campaign.