Stuart Baker Elementary School's tyke athlete Isaac Borgdorf in the 100 metre dash at the annual Haliburton Legion's Haliburton County Track and Field event for elementary school athletes on Saturday May 28 at the Gary G. Brohman Athletic Field. Borgdorf finished in 12 place overall. There were 261 athletes from JDHES Stuart Baker Elementary School J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School Archie Stouffer Elementary School Wilberforce Elementary School and Cardiff Elementary School./DARREN LUM Staff

Toy drive lights up kids’ Christmas for 20 years

By Jenn Watt

Twenty years ago Aggie Tose and Ave Petch were talking after church.

Petch active with the 4Cs was telling Tose how hard it was to find toys for kids around the holidays.

“I said maybe the Home Builders can help because they’re from all over the county” recalls Tose executive officer with the Haliburton County Home Builders Association.

The idea was an instant success and each year since the Home Builders have co-ordinated and collected toys and food for the food banks of the county.

Work can be precarious and there’s no telling who might need a little help over the holidays.

“The year I started it there were two boys on my son’s hockey team that weren’t going to get Christmas because I knew that their mom had been laid off” she says.

“I know every year there’s got to be one family in that same place. It’s not something you choose. It happens.”

At the beginning there was a contest for which workplace could collect the most goods but eventually they decided no contest was needed: people just wanted to give.

Between eight and 12 truckloads or carloads of toys and food are donated each year.

This year all donations need to be in by Dec. 14. To be part of the toy drive just give Tose a call at 705-457-6901 or email From there you can arrange when pick up will be and get other details.

Tose remembers one year someone donated three beautiful dolls.

“I thought wow. Can you just imagine somebody’s face when they get that?”

Gifts for kids of all ages are needed but especially for teenagers who are often harder to buy for.

Tose suggests basketballs and hockey sticks gift cards to downtown businesses that teens like or cellphone accessories such as earbuds.

Tose says when she was a kid she remembers her father keeping a busy schedule in the Christmas season helping out wherever he could. She can see why.

Every year as she makes the final delivery of toys to the Christmas basket program in Minden she feels the warmth of giving: “you think ‘yeah. That was good.’ It’s a nice feeling.”