Help needed for homeless toys
A long-standing holiday institution could be homeless unless a benefactor can be found to provide warehouse space to the Share Family and Community Services toy drive.
Share has until tomorrow, Thursday, to move out of the Andres Wines building and is busy putting boxes of donated toys for next year's Christmas Toy Shop into commercial storage and other nooks and crannies.
But the executive director of the social service agency said the temporary solution is unsustainable and Martin Wyant is putting the call out for for help.
"Now what we're looking at doing, we need anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet of warehouse space to store toys for the Christmas program and overflow food," Wyant said.
Share is hoping that someone with empty warehouse or storage space can provide a home for its toy collection and will be "creative" on the leasing arrangement — providing the space at low or no cost. For years, Share has benefitted from a large amount of free storage space in the Andres wine building in Port Moody, which kept administration costs low and provided ample space for sorting and storage.
But that building is in the eye of the storm for Evergreen Line construction and so Share has to move.
In previous years, the toy shop was even held at Andres. But with leasing rates and space at a premium, Share is scaling back its space requirements from 15,000 square feet to between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet.
A smaller space will mean some challenges for the long standing program and Wyant said the top shop might be different next year. However, he is adamant there will be no scaling back of the holiday program that puts toys into the hands of more than 2,000 needy children at Christmas.
"We need to be rolling up our sleeve and rethinking how we've done this without changing the fact that were going to be helping children and families at Christmas."
The move follows a successful holiday hamper program, in which the community raised funds and food to provide 1,800 families with holiday hampers.