Businesses at a downtown shopping centre are looking for the community’s help to gather non-perishable food items and unwrapped gifts this holiday season.
Businesses located at 33 Mississaga St. E. will be accepting donations until mid-December, with all gifts, food items, and cash received going to the local Salvation Army.
On Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a 'Holiday Hoopla’ will take place at the downtown mall, featuring a number of local vendors, and a chance to take photos with Pikachu Santa in exchange for a donation.
Heather Fraser, with Oscar’s Variety, spearheaded the campaign, which is entering its second year.
“Last year, I started thinking how do we give back to the community because everybody comes in to the mall and everybody gives back to us,” she told OrilliaMatters. “We see more and more people that are struggling out there, and it's sad, and we need to do something to help them.”
Fraser said the Salvation Army is expecting hundreds of people to access its food hampers over the holiday season, and mentioned the businesses are hoping to build on last year’s donation of five boxes of food.
“We raised five boxes of food, and we want to do better this year, and we added in the unwrapped gifts,” she said.
For gifts, she said the businesses will accept toys for children, toiletries for teenagers and adults, gift cards, and more.
A variety of local vendors have jumped on board for the Dec. 11 event, Fraser said, adding that all businesses in the mall have jumped on board, as well.
“I think it's important to give back to the community, especially in times like this, around the holidays,” said Becker Shoes’ Daniel Barton. “Having Becker's jump on board and support is a no-brainer for us, and we're hoping that we have a better turnout than last year, which I think we will.”