A Holiday Toy Drive for Community Centre 55’s Share a Christmas campaign being run by DeClute Real Estate and the Wright Sisters Group real estate is now taking place locally.
Rick DeClute said he has been busy over the past few days collecting new unwrapped toys and gift card donations from the porches of East Toronto residents who are contributing to the drive.
The porch pick up makes it easy and safe for people concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic to make their donations, he said.
“It’s really going well. I was out yesterday and made 12 to 14 pick-ups, and I have another eight on Thursday,” said DeClute in an interview with Beach Metro News on Dec. 9. “The whole back of the truck was full of toys, and that’s fantastic.”
He said there were a number of factors in deciding to run a toy drive in which donations would be collected by himself or members of his team. Safety concerns surrounding COVID-19 were a major factor.
“We have to be safe. This is still a brand new thing for everybody to be dealing with,” said DeClute of COVID-19 and the many changes and restrictions it has forced on to this year’s holiday traditions.
Since real estate was declared an essential service by the province, he said he was out and about in the community anyway so it only made sense he pick up donations at the same time.
“Real estate is an essential service and I’m driving around seeing people anyway, so it’s convenient for me to pick up the toys.”
There is a huge need among area families this Christmas, and Community Centre 55’s Share a Christmas is one of the key ways residents can help to support others.
“People really do want to help and this is a way they can do it,” said DeClute of the porch pick up.
COVID-19 also forced a major change in what was an annual holiday tradition for DeClute Real Estate as they had to cancel this year’s Light Up The Beach event which has been taking place for the past 12 years along the Boardwalk.
DeClute said it was a tough decision to have to cancel Light Up The Beach, but it simply could not be done safely given all of the restrictions and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and Toronto’s growing case numbers.
“A lot of people are disappointed and we are too. People are limited in what they can do and going out seeing the lights would have been nice and they wanted to do so. People love it and we love doing it,” he said.
DeClute said he has heard from some people who were especially upset and angry that the trees along the Boardwalk would not be lit up this year and took it out on him.
“People are very disappointed, and fair enough. So much has been taken away from people this year,” he said.
Along with collecting donations for Share a Christmas, DeClute is also directing some of the funds normally spent on Light Up The Beach to support frontline workers at Michael Garron Hospital.
To find out how you can make a donation to the Holiday Toy Drive for Community Centre 55, please go to https://holidaypickup.com/
To see Beach Metro’s earlier story on the cancellation of Light Up The Beach for this year, please see https://beachmetro.com/2020/10/29/declute-light-up-the-beach-will-not-take-place-this-year-as-resources-are-directed-towards-michael-garron-hospitals-fight-against-covid-19/