Dozens of families will be able to put something special under the tree for their kids on Christmas thanks to drivers who violated the city’s parking bylaw.
For the 13th year, Orillia’s Toys for Tickets campaign allowed those who received parking tickets to substitute their payment with a toy of equal or greater value.
The campaign, which ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, resulted in more than $1,100 worth of toys being collected. They will go to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which will distribute them to local families in need.
“We are exceedingly grateful for this support,” said Tara Treash, president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Orillia, a service of Guardian Angels Church. “It’s community support and that’s what this season is all about.”
The organization has been on the receiving end of Toys for Tickets for about seven years, allowing it to help, on average, 40 to 60 families annually.
“They’re so grateful when they come to pick up their packages,” Treash said. “It can be a stressful time of year for families. This alleviates that burden.”
The 2018-22 council was sworn in Monday night, and Mayor Steve Clarke said Tuesday morning’s presentation of toys was a good way to kick off the new term. He praised the organization for its work to help Orillia’s less fortunate.
“St. Vincent de Paul has their finger on the pulse of a lot of the needs in our community,” he said. “They’ve got a wonderful reputation for identifying who would most benefit.”
The mayor noted the number of toys collected seems to be down slightly, which could be attributed the the city’s implementation of more convenient ways to pay parking tickets, including the PassportParking mobile app.
“It’s still a wonderful success,” Clarke said. “It would fill Santa’s sleigh, I’m sure.”