1236322 BC Ltd. was amongst those who helped donate laundry detergent, puzzles, games and craft kits to a holiday food and toy drive this year in Quesnel supporting local families. (Coral Byrd Facebook photo)

1236322 BC Ltd. was amongst those who helped donate laundry detergent, puzzles, games and craft kits to a holiday food and toy drive this year in Quesnel supporting local families. (Coral Byrd Facebook photo)

Local toy and food drive supports local families

Donations made Christmas a little brighter

This year Coral Byrd wanted to do something extra special to spread Christmas cheer.

On Monday, Dec. 20 Byrd could be spotted handing out food and toys at West Park Mall to families whose children access breakfast and lunch programs with schools in the Quesnel School District.

Before Christmas Day, a total of 61 families had received a box of non-perishable food, laundry detergent, and a bag of bathroom essentials and cleaning supplies.

Parents also were able to choose two toys for each of their children that were gift-wrapped by volunteers.

“Every year it’s been great,” Byrd said, listing off some donors this year, including Integris Credit Union, Rotary Club of Quesnel and Extra Foods.

The West Quesnel Business Association volunteer noted how business associations in the past would take part in a friendly competition seeing which team collected the most non-perishable food for the Salvation Army and Quesnel Good Cheer.

Bragging rights, however, had stopped when Good Cheer announced they would no longer be doing food and toy hampers for Christmas, she said.

Read More: Quesnel RCMP cruiser gets stuffed with donations

Since then, Byrd has launched efforts of her own to provide gift baskets to seniors in 2019, and in 2020 to youth transitioning out of foster care.

“This year, I wanted to focus on kids and families that access the breakfast and lunch program,” Byrd said, noting she had received most information from teachers.

On Facebook, Byrd recently shared that more than 30 families benefited from any remaining items.

“An aunty was able to get a gift for her nieces who she usually isn’t able to buy for. A family was able to add a few extra toys under their tree,” she wrote Sunday, Dec. 26.

“A single dad was able to give his children more than one present each. A couple took a board game for under the tree and a cake mix to be able to bake one afternoon.”

In May 2019, Byrd helped organize a community celebration for the opening of the West Quesnel skate park, where she still enjoys bringing snacks and water to kids, some of whom have gotten to know her by name and want to show her their tricks.

Following the success of this year’s toy and food drive, Byrd said she already has ideas stirring in her head for 2022.

“I have a different vision every year, so we’ll see what happens next year but every year I say it’s going to be bigger and better, and every year it has been bigger and better.”


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