St. John, East Orangeville helped bring the community together to provide food and toys to needy families during Christmas. Local businesses, service clubs and emergency services were asked to decorate a Christmas tree and bring it to the parish hall to create a “Magical Christmas Forest.” Members of the public was asked to visit the forest on Dec. 9-11 to place a new, unwrapped toy or food item under their favourite tree. While they were their, they could cast a ballot for their favourite tree, with the chance of winning it and having it delivered to their home.
“We’ve always had a tree in the hall for families to bring toys to and we wondered how we could ramp up the display to encourage people to bring more toys,” says the Rev. John Lockyer, incumbent. “It’s a way of reaching out and expressing our support for the community.”
The event was a success. Local groups decorated and delivered 14 Christmas trees, and more than 200 families visited to drop off toys and look around. “The event produced 12 giant bags of toys and three giant bags of food,” says Mr. Lockyer. The toys and food were given to the Toys for Tots and foodbank, run every Christmas by the Orangeville Police Service.