This year Creations for Charity went north! Not all the way to Santa, but it felt like it for many kids. I had donated and purchased things in the past and I was I ecstatic to be asked the coordinate this wonderful charity into my home country of Canada. In Canada LEGO isn’t nearly as cheap as US, it’s not as expensive as other parts of the world, but it’s definitely a high end toy, so I knew that the toys donated would be that much more special here in Canada.
With all the money raised from the sale of creations, and to occasional chats, we raised a phenomenal amount. But even before money started rolling in, I knew I had to start making the most of whatever deals and hook ups I could get – as LEGO isn’t always cheap up here. Calling in some favours Adam M smuggled me a trunk full of LEGO form the states and basically gave it to me for next to nothing. I also had some helpers from my friends at ToroLUG who were all on the lookout for deals! By November I was feeling pretty good with 4-5 banker boxes of sets averaging below 50% retail.
But the like the proverbial Christmas miracle , LEGO generously donated about 20 boxes of LEGO. Getting the LEGO from FedEx was a story all by itself.
In the end the the combined C4C purchased sets and the LEGO donations was a jaw dropping 220 sets!
But who to donate to? This was all new to me, we have several toy drives in Toronto, some run through the city, massive children’s hospital, fire/police departments, news/radio stations – part of me liked the idea of getting some free press for AFOLs.. but a lot of these drives are pretty well known and supported. For C4C’s first foray into Canada I really wanted to make a big impact and I looked for a under served recipient which really needed help.
After asking around we settled on Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital – it’s the largest children’s rehabilitation hospital in Canada. What’s a rehabilitation hospital you ask? Well it’s a hospital that specializes in dealing kids / youth with disabilities and conditions. Ranging from things that children were born with or those that suffered a traumatic injury.
What really broke my heart was hearing how ‘regular’ families have their world turned upside down after a traumatic injury – kids that used to have full lives now have to deal with new realities. Where they’re not even worried about what toys they might be getting, they’re just trying to get back to some semblance of normality. And what really made me stop and think is what if they have siblings? While the parents are focusing all their energy (and money) helping one, the other(s) are inevitably left out.
So it was an easy choice. It’s an easy way to make their lives slightly better, but giving some wicked LEGO sets to them.
But there’s more.
They had already identified roughly how much they needed to help the families, plus some buffer to hold over for ’emergencies’ … we had a lot left, thanks to buyers like you and good folks at LEGO.
We had SO much left over, we decided to go around the corner, to Sunnybrook Hospital – Canada’s largest Maternity Hospital. What’s that you ask? it’s when there are newborns might have complications, or early births etc, they aren’t necessarily as developed, and this could lead to problems later on in life. And you know what’s a great way to develop fine motor skills and get a leg up in life? Yup. LEGO.
The neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) has a long term program to make sure children get the help they need, including disadvantaged families, and much like every year they are of course looking for help stuffing trees with presents, so we were happy to oblige.
So thank ALL the people that donated, and purchased MOCs – without you all none of this is possible