Making spirits bright for all

Toy Tea returns to Peninsula to help families in need.

More than 300 toys were collected at last year’s Toy Tea.

A group of Peninsula women are working hard to make sure that all children and teens in the community have something to look forward to Christmas morning, with their eighth annual Toy Tea, set for later this month.

The annual tea, to take place Nov. 28, serves as a social event for attendees – many of whom have taken part every year since its 2008 inception – that benefits women around the Lower Mainland and their families who are in need of a helping hand.

The local gathering was founded by Madeleine Allerton, who was involved in a similar event in Montreal for 13 years before she moved to the Semiahmoo Peninsula in 2006.

Participants gather for a few hours to enjoy Christmas music, tea, goodies – even a taste of sherry – at the event, where the only entrance fee is a new, unwrapped non-violent toy, which will be donated to Atira Women’s Resource Society.

Last year’s event, Allerton said, collected more than 300 toys, which were distributed to children and teens whose moms were in shelters having escaped domestic abuse.

“Every little bit helps,” Allerton said, noting that items for boys, as well as those for older children and teens, are in the highest demand.

And while Allerton acknowledged that not all the toy donations will stay within the Semiahmoo Peninsula – as Atira serves families throughout the Lower Mainland – she said that hasn’t been a deterrent for many of the local residents who take part.

“From my perspective, kids are kids,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where they are.”

In addition to collecting toys – cash donations and gift cards are also welcome – Allerton and her organizing committee are also gathering travel-sized toiletries, such as lotions, soaps and shampoos, which will be wrapped up into gift bags for the children to give to their mothers for Christmas.

Anyone who wishes to attend the Toy Tea is welcome to, Allerton said, noting festivities will take place Nov. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m., at Crescent Gardens Retirement Community, 1222 King George Blvd.

For more information on the event, email allerton26@gmail.com

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