Annual tradition returns as Calgary Firefighters Toy Association helps 1,200 families

A long standing Calgary tradition was back in action Sunday after a pandemic-related cancelation last year.

The Calgary Firefighters Toy Association event was held in the northeast outside of the emergency vehicle maintenance shop, instead of its long-standing home at the Corral.

It marked the 53rd time local fire crews have donated their time and some of their salary to children in need.

Sunday’s event proceeded as an outdoor drive-thru.

Families pulled their vehicles up to volunteers who unloaded gender and age-specific gifts into the backseat.

“It truly is magical,” fire chief Steve Dongworth told CTV News. “I say to people, for me, this really is something that makes Christmas. People are so grateful.”

In total, 1,200 families were helped.

“These families are identified through the school board and through various other social service agencies as folks that could probably use a little bit of a hand,” Toy Association president Mark Hagel said.

“During the pandemic, things have gotten worse for some families, (especially) the kind of families that we see here,” Dongworth added.

The hope is to hold the event back inside next year. Organizers say the Telus Convention Centre will play host if it’s safe to do so.

To learn more about the event — or how to donate for next year — visit the association’s website.

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