After two years of miserable weather for the annual Kruise For Kids toy drive, Rick Farmer knows one thing for sure.
“Next year, it will be back inside, by hook or by crook,” said Farmer, who spent a rain-soaked day with other volunteers in the parking lot of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Langley campus, taking delivery of toy donations for needy families.
The first year of the pandemic, in 2020, the event had to be moved outside in the Langley Events Centre parking lot to maintain social distancing, but the weather was good.
By the afternoon, Farmer recalled, it was warm enough for him to take his jacket off.
Weather for the next one, held at the George Preston rec centre in 2021, was cold and windy, but despite that, donations hit a record high.
On Sunday, Nov. 6, for the 39th Kruise For Kids event, conditions were even worse, with heavy rain and chilly winds ripping through the Lower Mainland.
Farmer, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Car Club Council, the group that organizes the collection of toys and cash donations, explained calling it off was never an option for what is believed to be the longest running automotive event of its kind.
“Our goal is to never skip a year” Farmer explained.
Perhaps because of the poor weather, the number of vehicles bringing in toys this year was down, to 101, compared to the 165 the previous year, but the amount of cash contributions was up, and expected to exceed the $32,000 record set last year once the tally was completed.
Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau executive director Chris Bayliss was bundled up in protective rain gear for the day.
“It’s not the best day out here today, but its not snowing “ Bayliss laughed.
Bayliss reported more people are seeking help from the bureau, which assisted close to 1,000 families last year.
“We’re getting a lot of calls,” Bayliss told the Langley Advance Times.
“There’s a lot of pent up demand,” he said. “With the cost of living, the cost of food, plus the rent costs, a lot of lower income working families are accessing our services and all the other bureau services.”
Bayliss also predicted Kruise For Kids will be a fully indoor event next year.
“This is still a hybrid event, it’s a drive-through,” he noted.
“Next year we’ll do a full [indoor] event with tables and everything.”
Anyone who would like to contribute can still do so by visiting the Kruise 4 Kids website or the Christmas Bureau at lmcb.ca to make donations. If a donor goes through the Christmas Bureau, they are asked to declare the donation for Kruise 4 Kids.
Since 1930, the LMCB has been working to bring Christmas to families in need.
More photos from the day can be viewed on the Langley Advance Times Facebook page.
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