When Sears closed its doors in Chilliwack, it left more than an empty space in the mall, as many local charities relied on the retailer for its holiday generosity. However, local grocery giant, the Real Canadian Superstore, has recently stepped in to help the Ann Davis Transition Society (ADTS) with its annual toy drive.
“When Sears closed, it was a huge loss for us and probably many charities,” said ADTS executive director, Patti MacAhonic. “For many, many years Sears would give us a couple of truckloads of toys and women’s things and it just made such a huge difference for our clients (at this time of the year).”
However, with no Sears left in town, MacAhonic says the ADTS wasn’t entirely sure how they were going to conduct their annual holiday drive this year.
“When we reached out to the Society and learned nobody would be donating to their (Christmas) store this year, I decided to take it on for Superstore,” said Sheilaine Williams, who manages the front end of the Chilliwack location.
Each year, the ADTS rallies the community to raise funds, toys, and clothing items for hampers that are given away, but they also create a Christmas store that runs from Dec. 9 to 21 where struggling families in need are able to acquire a few presents to help celebrate the holiday.
“A few years ago we helped out a single dad (who’d been widowed),” said MacAhonic. We “worked with him and got age-appropriate stuff for his three little girls. He was in tears and we were in tears. It was a horrible situation, but we could help. And last year, that person came back and donated.
“It really moves you to see how wonderful it all is,” said MacAhonic.
“We really wanted to support a local charity and make a difference for them and all the people who are in need at this time of year … so we began fundraising in January with barbecues, raffles, and other stuff throughout the year for things we may not have donated (this weekend),” said Williams.
Currently, Superstore is raffling off a Christmas Dinner On Us basket that’s full of everything you need to make Christmas dinner, and then some.
However, the real fun comes this weekend, when Society members and Superstore team members come together on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., in the grocery store parking lot for the annual Toy Drive And More event (45779 Luckakuck Way).
“We’d like (unwrapped) toys, cash,” gift sets and stocking-stuffers, said MacAhonic, “but we can also use kids and (adult) pjs and slippers. And every donation comes with a free hot dog, chips, and drink.
“We’re so absolutely thrilled (Superstore has) stepped up. We didn’t even ask, they offered.”