By Lissa Alexander
COVID-19 will not spoil the community’s annual morning of giving at Tigh-Na-Mara.
“Like many businesses that have had to reinvent how they do business or modify their services, we have found a way to reinvent this special event,” said Paul Drummond, general manager at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre.
He’s referring to the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive, an event that has captured the hearts of so many residents over the past 11 years, people who are looking to make a meaningful contribution to local families in need at Christmas.
Last year, the Toy Drive brought in 1,813 new toys, $3,758 in gift cards and $8,861 in cash and cheques for the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program. The SOS program ensures local children and youth find a special gift under the tree at Christmas, and families and individuals receive grocery store gift cards so they may choose food that is important to them over the holidays.
Although the Toy Drive won’t be the same social event where people gather and hug and catch up over breakfast, the team at Tigh-Na-Mara has come up with three ways for residents to contribute to the Toy Drive, and still leave full and fulfilled.
Monday through Friday, beginning Nov. 2 and ending Nov. 24, residents can visit Cedars Restaurant, bring in a new, unwrapped toy, gift card or cash donation and receive a traditional breakfast at no cost. Alternatively, patrons can purchase a traditional breakfast during this time and Tigh-Na-Mara will donate $10 from every breakfast to the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program.
On Nov. 25, Tigh-Na-Mara will host a Toy Drive ‘Drive Through’, from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., where people can drop by the Big Tent in the Tigh-Na-Mara parking lot, drop off their donation, and receive a coffee and a pastry to go.
“We are incredibly grateful to Tigh-Na-Mara for persevering and coming up with a way to host this event this year, despite the circumstances,’ said SOS executive director Susanna Newton. “This has become such a wonderful, heart-warming occasion for residents, and it makes such a profound impact on our Christmas program, and on the lives of so many local families at Christmas.”
Paul said this event has become the kick-off to Christmas for him and numerous staff who volunteer their time to make the Toy Drive successful. He is glad they can still host an event that means so much to them and the community.
“We all get tingles from the experience of being part of something this big and this important,” he said.
Cedars Restaurant and Lounge is located at Tigh-Na-Mara, 1155 Resort Dr., in Parksville. Breakfast reservations are welcomed, and patrons will be seated at tables with a maximum of six people. Call 250-248-2333 for reservations.