Aboriginal Education students Sophia Augustine and Zachary Aiken are among those organizing a toy drop to help families in need at Christmas. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Aboriginal Education students Sophia Augustine and Zachary Aiken are among those organizing a toy drop to help families in need at Christmas. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Toy drop at Maple Ridge secondary coming up

Drop off new toys or gift cards for local families in need

The Aboriginal Education students at Maple Ridge secondary want to make sure kids have a merry Christmas, and they’re collecting toys.

The students have organized a drive-through toy drop – Rambo’s Christmas Toy Drive – which will take place before school on Nov. 23, from 8-8:30 a.m. It is named for the school’s bighorn sheep mascot.

Sophia Augustine, Grade 8, is part of the Ab-Ed leadership group, that were looking for a project they could take on, and considered the economic hardship created by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of families will be struggling to get gifts for their kids,” she said.

They will help moms and dads by setting up tents in the school parking lot for their drive-through toy drop, where they will accept gifts of new toys and gift cards.

“You just hand it out the window, and you’re gone,” said Augustine.

Sherry Britton, an aboriginal support worker at MRSS, was proud of the kids, and the empathy they showed for families.

“They were more concerned with the parents struggling to give their kids a Christmas,” she said, and noted they wanted the parents to be able to ask for help in an anonymous way.

They are worried that this year, it might be harder for Christmas charities to get donations.

Britton explained they have learned about the Seven Grandfather Teachings that form the foundation of the Indigenous way of life. The teaching they chose to emphasize is humility, and is represented by the wolf, who lives for their pack.

Once the toys are collected they will go to the ab-ed staff at Eric Langton elementary, and distribute to all families in need – aboriginal or otherwise – at that school and others with need.

The students plan to make it an event, with a choir singing Christmas songs, and the vice-principal will bring his steel drums to lend a unique sound to the occasion.

Kenneth Headley’s father Kendrick played the steel drums as an opener for iconic pianist Liberace from 1968 to 1971. He raised his son to play as well. The educator has performed extensively, and locals might have seen him at the Caribbean Festival with the group Phase III. He said the steel drums make Christmas carols sound great.

“We can play anything a piano can play,” said Headley.

People who miss the unique dropoff event can still make a donation by contacting Britton at sherri_britton@sd42.ca or katrina_haintz@sd42.ca

READ ALSO: Registration open for Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

READ ALSO: Shoebox campaign to bring Christmas to kids around the world again this year


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