The Coast Capri Hotel lobby was full of festive families donating toys both big and small Thursday morning.
The hotel and Kelowna’s Salvation Army partnered for the 19th year to put on the Tiny Tim Charity Toy Breakfast.
It’s a way for residents to donate new toys, as well as cash and cheques. The Salvation Army then distributes all the donations to families in need throughout the Okanagan.
Lead pastor Darryl Burry said events like these are important for the group now, especially because they have seen an increase in the need for donations.
“We have had a 47 per cent increase in the number of individuals and families that have been accessing our services in the first six months of this year, as opposed to the same time period last year… the need is great,” Burry said.
“We’re in the business where what we would like to see is to have those numbers decreasing year after year, to work ourselves out of a job. But that’s not the reality. There’s just more and more individuals struggling to make it through every day.”
The hotel’s general manager Dale Sivucha said it’s been an incredible experience every year.
“Every year, we try to exceed our goal (with the donations).”
“It’s just been amazing. I think some of the highlights have been when the hockey teams come down in their uniforms. The kids’ eyes just light up. It’s first rate, and you really see the emotion in people’s eyes and the fact we’re part of it makes it a very special moment for all the people,” Sivucha said.
With 1,393 donations this year, the toy drive exceeded last year’s total of 1,355.
Burry added last year’s cash donations were about $2,200. This year, they received $3,693.
Families can stop by the toy depot at the Salvation Army Community Church from Dec. 16 to 20.
For more information on how to donate, visit Kelowna Salvation Army’s site.