Volunteers at the Toy Store in Port McNeill. (Submitted photo)

Toy Store in McNeill helps out families in need affected by loggers strike

“I know a lot of people who are proud and it is hard for them to accept some help.”

What began out of heartache and stress ended this weekend (Dec. 15 &16) in a wave of pressure releasing, volunteer driven and heartfelt community Christmas spirit.

Over the past six months, the forestry strike has taken its toll on many in the community; and as Christmas approached, there were many feeling the stress of the upcoming season.

For some, there had been no work and no paycheque for nearly half a year and much like that movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, the financial challenges had people wondering if they were the only ones feeling this and how would they get by, or get through this Christmas.

However, in the end, much like that classic film, the community came together with support and most of all, understanding.

One such example would be the efforts of Port McNeill residents, Laura Chase, Miranda Keys and Angela Williams who along with countless other volunteers, spent the past several weeks setting up a very special and free toy store.

Laura Chase explained, “We just wanted to support our local families on the North Island who needed some extra help this Christmas,” and as a result, the Toy Store was born.

Chase went on to explain how, in just two weeks, the community jumped onboard the idea, donating thousands of dollars worth of toys.

“The response from the community has been incredible and overwhelming,” she said.

Setting up shop in the Port McNeill MakersSpace, the Toy store was open over the weekend for anyone. Chase explained, “People could pick out the toys they need (at no cost) and even have them gift wrapped.” There were baked goods available all day and on Sunday, Santa took time off from his busy schedule up at the North Pole to make a special visit to Port McNeill.

Laura and her volunteers were also aware that many felt uncomfortable accessing help, saying, “I know a lot of people who are proud and it is hard for them to accept some help.” It was the first time for many and Laura and her team had spent a lot of time assuring and reassuring everyone that it was okay to accept the offer of friendship and help from the community.

The Toy Store was just one of many initiatives happening throughout the North Island and everyone contacted for this story spoke of how it reminded them of why they are so happy to call this area home.

Mayor of Port McNeill, Gaby Wickstrom, took a moment away from gift wrapping at the Toy Store to say: “What these ladies have done, along with the Loonies for Loggers women is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. They have created an atmosphere of caring like I haven’t seen in some time.” Adding, “It is more than toys and food. They are giving their hearts and offering much needed moral support during a very difficult time for the North Island.”

– Bill McQuarrie article

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


The Toy Store located in Port McNeill. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Port McNeill mayor elected as Director at Large with UBCM

Gaby Wickstrom ran for one of five spots against 13 other candidates

Heiltsuk First Nation calling on DFO to close fish farms, citing wild salmon extinction risk

Wild salmon returns have broken low records, have many concerned about future of wild fish

Everyone should be aware of the Labour Day movement

My hat is off to Tyson Whitney for his article on Labour Day.

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read