Dan Reaveley has experienced the struggles young children face when they lose a parent.
His four kids were left without a mother and he without a wife after Charlene Reaveley was killed in a hit-and-run accident earlier this year in Coquitlam.
But while his family is still struggling with the loss, Reaveley is hoping to turn their grief into something positive and help others this holiday season.
With help from the Charlene Reaveley Children’s Charity Society, which he helped launch earlier this year, Reaveley and several supporters are holding a toy drive in the Tri-Cities to help young children dealing with the loss of a parent.
“This allows them just to be a kid again,” he said. “I think that is the most important thing. They have kind of lost that a bit. My kids have struggled with it and I think Christmas might be a good jump-start for them to get back into things.”
He said Charlene loved Christmas and he hopes the toy drive will become an annual event and help keep her memory alive.
Coquitlam Canadian Tire owner Paul Droulis has placed toy boxes at the retailer’s Tri-City locations (1200 Sequin Ave., Coquitlam and at the Port Coquitlam store owned by Ingmar Wilkens at 2125 Hawkins St.) and Reaveley has set up a box where he works at Maple Ridge Chrysler (11911 West St., Maple Ridge).
Donors can drop off new unwrapped toys for kids up to 12 years of age at those locations during business hours through Dec. 21.
Reaveley said on Dec. 23, Santa Claus and an elf will deliver the toys to the doors of children who have lost a parent in the last couple of years.
“It will be for kids who have lost a parent,” he said. “But if there is a surplus of toys, we will take them over to B.C. Children’s Hospital. There are lots of different places we can bring them.”
• For more information about the toy drive or the Charlene Reaveley Children’s Charity Society, go to www.crccs.ca.