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Victor Ghirra Toy Drive spreading holiday cheer

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:58 PST, Thu November 10, 2022

Now in its 16th year, the annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive is returning to spread love and holiday cheer in memory of the man with a golden heart.

People can contribute new, unwrapped toys and enjoy holiday cheer at the “winter wonderland” themed event, set to take place on Dec. 10 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Riverside Palace Hall parking lot (14431 Knox Way). 

Ghirra’s toy drive began in 2007 after he suddenly passed away, leaving behind a wife and four young sons. His generous spirit led him to purchase thousands of dollars worth of toys for BC Children’s Hospital and donating them to children in need. 

Ghirra did this anonymously for over a dozen years without telling anyone. He did not want any credit for the selfless act, instead telling hospital staff: “These toys are for the kids, and that’s all you need to know.”

Organizer Harvey Kooner says teens are always forgotten when people are choosing toys to bring.

“Year after year we receive hundreds of toys for babies, toddlers, and elementary school-aged children,” says Kooner. “What I hear from charities and all the good causes we help is that teens would appreciate electronics, books, musical instruments, make-up, video game consoles, and games. Gift cards are great so that tweens and teens can pick out a gift for themselves that they will love and need.”

Over the past 15 years, the drive has collected more than 45,000 toys and distributed them to dozens of non-profit organizations. Kooner says support from Richmondites means the world.

“We see many families that make it a yearly tradition to come see us at the grand toy count event. From the amazing support of the Sunrise Rotary Club to local businesses showing up to give back, it is heartwarming to see so many Richmond residents come out and support this community event,” says Kooner.

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