Getting Toys to Kids This Christmas

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


41 Division
Strategy Management

A fundraiser has been launched so that a group of social agencies and families get a Christmas shopping spree this holiday season at an east end Canadian Tire.

Constable Jennifer Dekezel has coordinated the initiative for the last 16 years at the Canadian Tire at 1901 Eglinton Ave. E. and aims to raise $5,000 at the store where customers can donate to the initiative.

New Visions Toronto, United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere (UMOVE), Abiona Centre, Red Door Shelter, Bethany Church, Working Women’s Hub and Girlz Will be Girlz and were selected to participate in a shopping spree.

Three families will also receive $500 for a shopping spree.

Donations to Toys for Kids can be in the form of Canadian Tire coupons, cash or purchasing a cardboard bear for a Toonie in support of the event, which is displayed at Canadian Tire with your name on it.

Canadian Tire Franchise Owner Steven McCarthy is matching donations for the shopping spree.

It was like sweet music to Tina Christie’s ears when she learned that New Visions Toronto was selected to take part in a Christmas Toys for Kids shopping spree at

“This is the first time we are part of this event and this is a huge opportunity for us,” said the organization’s Fundraising Manager. “It is about creating awareness for us. Fundraising is really important for us and this kind of event helps to showcase New Visions and the work we are doing. We really appreciate being part of this.”

New Visions Toronto is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping more than 56 children and young adults with complex physical and developmental disabilities. The shopping spree will allow the organization to make Christmas even more special this year.

The organization has 16 homes and provides 24-hour care. Each home provides support for two to six children and adults per home across the Greater Toronto Area.

Police officers with children in wheelchairs and other people
New Visions Toronto, a non-profit helping people with physical and developmental disabilities, will benefit from the fundraiser Photo: Ron Fanfair

Toronto Police Service collaborated with the store and other community agencies for the annual event.

Deputy Chief Rob Johnson delivered greetings on behalf of Chief Myron Demkiw and the Service’s uniform and civilian staff.

“I am proud to represent our organization at this special event that brings Christmas cheer to families,” he pointed out.

Toronto Police Services Board Vice-Chair Lisa Kostakis thanked Dekezel for her commitment to the community and its young people.

“There are far too many in our communities who are not fortunate enough to enjoy the Christmas holidays the way they should because of circumstances beyond their control,” the social worker said.

Audette Shephard, who co-founded UMOVE, has been associated with the event for the last 18 years.

She acknowledged Canadian Tire for their generosity and support over the years and Dekezel.

“I just want to let you know that your efforts and kindness do not go untouched and it is greatly appreciated,” said the UMOVE co-founder who lost her only child, Justin Shephard, to gun violence in 2001. “I also want to thank Jen for all she does. Sometimes I want to give up, but when I look at this beacon of hope and this little light that shines in our community, I tell myself I have to go on.”

Superintendent Warren Wilson, Jon Reid and Pete Grande of the Toronto Police Association and other senior officers attended the event.

“This is a great day for Toronto Police and our community,” noted the 41 Division Unit Commander. “It just shows the value of partnerships and people coming together to make things better for those that are less fortunate. We also value the partnership we have had over the years with Canadian Tire.”

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