The annual Northwestel, Salvation Army toy drive kicked off Thursday and Yellowknifers can now donate games and gifts until Dec. 10.
“For kids, I think that the pandemic has been an extra challenge,” Mayor Rebecca Alty said at the launch, “To be able to provide a Christmas that looks like the others will be welcome.”
The drive has been going on for over a decade and Imran Khan, Northwestel general manager, said there is always a lot of participation. He estimated that more than 100 toys were donated last year. Khan is optimistic this year can be “even better.”
The drive was originally launched by a Northwestel retail sales associate in Fort Nelson. Since then the initiative has only grown and expanded.
“It’s also a testament of how in the North, we support each other,” Khan said. “I hope (the gifts) inspire the young ones.”
This year, Northwestel has donated $5,000 to the Yellowknife Salvation Army for its holiday drive. The Salvation Army will also continue to distribute food hampers over the holiday season, as well as hold its yearly Christmas Kettle drive.
“The community coming together in this way is so important because it shows the human side in all of us,” said Jason Brinson, an officer with the Yellowknife Salvation Army. He said that while people may see Northwestel as just a telecommunications company, the people within the organization are “generous,” and “thoughtful.”
“Corporate decision-makers want to see a community that’s bound together,” Brinson said. “It shows that we’re together in mission.”