Purging of playthings

Mary MacKay
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The Toy Story for Christmas program at Murphy’s Community Centre takes advantage of the annual turnover of toys to bring joy to other children at Christmas

Bella Quinn, left, Juliette Hudson, Locky Dorrell, Connor Mahar and Presley Harper survey a stash of toys and books that will be handed out during this year’s Toy Story for Christmas campaign that provided gently used and new toys to 200 families last year.

It’s that out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new time of year again: that annual turnover of toys after the Christmas season.

The Toy Story for Christmas program at Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown hopes people will purge their toy boxes and playrooms early so that other children can enjoy those playthings this holiday season.

“(Children) grow out of things quickly and usually they’re not too old and it’s a shame when (other) kids can’t have access to something,” says Mike Redmond, director of facilities at Murphy’s Community Centre.

“In a world where we should be recycling and reusing it makes perfect sense to pass it on to the next person.”

Redmond came up with the idea last year after surveying the surplus of toys in his own basement.

Now in its second year, the program was a rousing success last year and is shooting for another high score for the 2012 holiday season.

“Last year, we had probably about 200 families that we were dealing with and we dealt with schools and local community groups,” says Redmond.

After a news story ran in The Guardian last year, the centre was bombarded with a generous flood of donations of everything from games, Lego, skates, video games and books to mountains of plastic playthings, most of which were in nearly new condition.

In addition to that, Redmond hopes when the Christmas unwrapping is done and things have been moved to make room for the new presents, people will think to box up the older toys and save them for next year’s Toy Story for Christmas drive.

“We hope that people will box those up and prepare them for next year. We urged people to do that as well last year — to have a look around and lot of people have done that,” Redmond says.

One unexpected offshoot of the Toy Story for Christmas program was  youths in the Teen Zone drop-in program and children in the

afterschool program become involved by helping with the cleaning of the toys.

“I think they too feel a sense of pride in being able to contribute and help give back to other families,” Redmond says.

The Church of Nazarene has jumped onboard as have some other community organizations.

Some people have also purchased new items for the program.

“We’ve already had some very positive calls people in the community and interested community groups saying that they’re going to help out,” Redmond says.

“And it’s a chance for people to have a look within their own homes too and say, ‘You know what? The kids don’t play with that anymore but maybe there are some kids that can get some use out of that.’ And that in a sense is what Toy Story for Christmas is all about.”

Organizations: The Toy Story for Christmas, Redmond says.The Church of Nazarene

Geographic location: Charlottetown, The Guardian

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