Leah Smith and Laura Mckee during Smith’s annual toy drive, Dec. 16. (Jesse Laufer/News staff )

Leah Smith and Laura Mckee during Smith’s annual toy drive, Dec. 16. (Jesse Laufer/News staff )

Oak Bay teen collects more than 1,000 toys for those in need

Student seeks someone to take over drive next year

Leah Smith’s toy drive broke the record it set last year.

During her two-day drive, the Oak Bay teen gathered 1,128 toys, which she dropped off at the Stan Hagen Centre for Families Dec. 17.

“It was a bit of an operation,” Smith said. “We were able to fit it in to two cars, definitely more than last year. Fortunately we were able to pack it really tightly with a bunch of stuff strapped onto the roof.”

READ ALSO: Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Because her toy drive also takes used gifts, Smith goes through everything to make sure it’s in good condition. She said some board games were missing a few too many pieces, but that 95 per cent of what was donated went to the Stan Hagen Centre. Residents also donated seven gift cards Smith says are worth about $150, and a little over $200 in cash.

“Because of the recent theft from the centre, we definitely had a bit more sympathy,” Smith said. “It inspired more to come out and to come together as a community to support something that a really great cause.”

READ MORE: Oak Bay teen targets 1,000 toys

She’s looking to try and pass the torch to someone else, but because she might move away for university next year this could be the last year for her toy drive – at least in Oak Bay. Smith says it takes about a month of planning to pull off a successful toy drive. In the meantime, she’s just thankful that this year went so successfully.

“Even if it seems like it’s such a small donation, it really does make a big difference. I’m really thankful for everyone who was able to come out and support anyway they could.”



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

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