West Coast Express Santa Trains next two Saturdays
For 20 years, the 10th Coquitlam Scouts group has been helping vulnerable families in the Tri-Cities have a good Christmas and this year is no exception.
Once again, local scouts will be collecting toys during the annual West Coast Express Santa Trains — running Dec. 10 and 17 — and will also help Share Family and Community Services collect food.
“As a group, we’re fairly strongly into community service projects,” Scouter Ross Thomas said of the group, which is made up of approximately 70 people, aged five to 26, plus two dozen adult volunteers. “We do a lot of volunteering and it’s a perfect kind of volunteering for the scouts. They can run around, decorate boxes, be outside,”
The youngsters will working at the three Tri-City West Coast Express Stations collecting toys for Share. Last, year, the group helped Share distribute toys to 2,200 children and almost 700 toys were collected at the Santa trains.
Thomas said over the years, the group has also helped pack and distribute hampers for Share.
But working at the Santa trains is a highlight and Thomas said the youngsters always have a lot of fun.
“Even better if it snows or if it rains,” he said, “the kids just love getting a box full of toys.”
In exchange for a new, unwrapped toy, West Coast Express will provide a free return ticket for a train ride to Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, where there will be activities for the kids, photos with Santa and holiday music.
This Saturday and next, the Santa trains will depart from Port Coquitlam station at 10:37 a.m., Coquitlam at 10:43 a.m. and Port Moody at 11:15 a.m., returning from Waterfront Station at 5 p.m.
While food donations are also appreciated, free WCE return tickets for the Santa Train will only be issued in exchange for new, unwrapped toys.
But as a way of providing even more help to those in need, WCE has added a food drive from Dec. 5 to 17, during which time WCE will be accepting canned and non-perishable food donations at the Waterfront Station and all the Santa Train donation station partners, including The Tri-City News.
Food donations can be dropped off at The News, 1405 Broadway St.; Nandos in Coquitlam at 204-3000 Lougheed Hwy.; Save-On Foods at Pinetree Village, 2991 Lougheed Hwy.; and Save-On Foods in Port Coquitlam, 2385 Ottawa St.