Leah Smith at her annual holiday toy drive, Dec. 2017. (Leah Smith)

Oak Bay teen targets 1,000 toys

Toy drive for Stan Hagen Centre For Families is Dec. 15 and 16 on Oak Bay Avenue

Oak Bay teen Leah Smith hopes to hit a toy milestone this weekend.

Her annual toy drive for the Stan Hagen Centre For Families is Dec. 15 and 16. After falling short last year, she hopes to gather 1,000 toys over just two days.

LAST YEAR: One girl toy drive hits Oak Bay Avenue this weekend

Last year’s drive saw her donating almost 800.

“It pretty much filled my entire basement,” Smith said.

After collecting all the toys, Smith takes them home and sorts through them while watching Christmas movies. Because her toy drive also accepts gently used toys, she likes to go through them to make sure they’re not — as she puts it — completely used.

“We’ve only had one or two of those every year,” she said. “99.9 percent are great to be donated.”

The hard part is getting the toys to the Stan Hagen Centre. Somehow, Smith and her family managed to take all the toys that filled their basement, and pack them into two family cars.

“It was one trip, but it was to the point where the entire car was full. You couldn’t see out the back, and sitting in the passenger seat I had two giant garbage bags full of toys just sitting on my lap,” Smith remembered with a laugh. “This year I’m hoping it will be two trips, just to show how much progress there’s been.”

When she first attempted a toy drive she was in grade 6. It didn’t go well.

“We had like five toys in total. Then in Grade 8, I thought I could try it again and just revamp the whole drive.”

Fast forward a few years and Smith—who is now in grade 12 at Oak Bay High—has grown her toy drive from five items into an Oak Bay holiday staple.

“It was just really to help families that are in different circumstances. I know especially the holiday season can be a really financially strenuous situation for many families. Providing any form of relief is just something that I feel like is just a good thing to do, especially during the holiday season because that’s when a lot of people are in a giving mood.”

READ MORE: Youths host sport swap to make athletics accessible in Victoria

Smith encourages people to bring items that don’t always pop in mind when we think of toy drives.

“It’s not as exciting to think about a teenager unwrapping a toy compared to a three-year-old who’s opening their favourite stuffed animal,” Smith explained. “For teens some of the best stuff includes sports equipment; soccer balls, basketball nets, that sort of stuff is really great. As well as gift cards. Evidently, I say its a toy drive, but we still do take other gift ideas.”

She noted that even small things like cosmetics could be great for teens.

The toy drive runs Dec. 15 and 16 from noon to 4 p.m. in front of Oak Bay Pharmasave, 2200 Oak Bay Ave.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

One of the two vehicles the Smiths used to transport collected toys to the Stan Hagen Centre For Families in 2017. (Leah Smith)

Leah Smith at her annual holiday toy drive, Dec. 2017 (Leah Smith)

Leah Smith surrounded by collected toys, Dec. 2017. (Leah Smith)

Just Posted

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Person finds bag of drugs while out for walk in Langford

Police ask residents, drivers to check surveillance footage

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read