Christmas tree in the dark

Toronto Fire Fighters embrace Christmas cheer with toy drive

Donations poured in from all over the GTA and beyond to help families in need

The Christmas spirit was alive and well during the annual Toronto Fire Fighters Toy Drive.

On Dec 7, the Toronto Fire Fighters called upon members of the community to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to families in need.  Torontonians braced the repressive -4°C cold and wind from 5-8 p.m. to spread holiday cheer. It was the event’s 11th consecutive year.

“Every year we meet at the shops in Don Mills,” said Capt. Rick Berenz, president of the Toronto Firefighters Toy drive. “It is the real point of kickoff for us, for our toy drive.”

The toy drive has helped thousands of families, and each year the drive donates $500,000 worth of toys. For Berenz, watching children’s reactions is the best part. “If you can feel the energy in the venue here tonight it’s amazing,” Berenz said. “Great big smiles and I think the kids will remember this.”

Rick Berenz discusses the groups of people the toy drive helps.

The toy drive was at the Don Mills, but it attracted people from all over the GTA. Jacob Wang drove in from Markham with his children.

“This is our third year in a row,” said Wang, a personal trainer. “[My son] loves it, so we keep bringing him back every year.”

Jacob Wang has a message to people about the toy drive.

Nadine Barhouche, the marketing manager at Mercedes Benz Toronto, showed how the toy drive would work and how the toys ended up with the families. “We collect our toys from our seven communities in the GTA,” Barhouche said. “We decide to deliver them to the firefighters in the GTA who then deliver them to kids in need.”

Nadine talks about her experience and feelings at the Toronto Firefighters toy drive.