Smiles all round at third ‘Toy Drive and Children’s Holiday Party’

By Lincoln DePradine

December is the month of Christmas gatherings and parties, for children and adults. And, one of the earliest kids’ parties – held just two days into December – was at Twilight Family Restaurant and Banquet Hall in Scarborough.

The event, which included an appearance by Santa Claus to Caribbean parang music, also involved the distribution of toys, which were collected through private donations in a campaign spearheaded by a team led by Joel “Connector’’ Davis and Gerald “Stretch’’ Augustine of Epic Carnival.

Santa and gang were all there

Both men were at the event last Saturday, interacting with the children and ensuring that everyone received a present and partook of the free snacks.

“It was a huge success,’’ Davis said, describing Saturday’s children’s Christmas event. “It has been such a heartwarming venture, just to be in the presence of our younger generations.’’

Davis has maintained, as he did three years ago at the inaugural “Toy Drive and Children’s Holiday Party’’, that “Christmas is about giving’’, and bringing joy to the kids is the aim of the party and toy-giveaway.

Joel “Connector’’ Davis and two happy kids

A singer and songwriter, who has won both the Calypso Monarch and Soca Monarch titles of Canada, Davis has made helping youth a main focus of his life’s activities.

One of the platforms he has used for helping is his own outfit called, “Connector Music’’.

A premier event of “Connector Music’’ has been an annual “Empowering Youth Showcase’’.

The showcase brings young people together – in a non-competition environment – to perform an artistic piece including music, dance and poetry. Each performer receives a portion of the proceeds from the event’s gate receipt.

The “Youth Showcase’’, according to Davis, aims to assist participants to “learn how to face an audience, build confidence in themselves, and feel empowered’’.

Gifts remaining from Saturday’s kids’ party will be donated to “Toy Mountain’’, Davis told The Caribbean Camera.

Toy Mountain is a CTV Christmas campaign that has been in existence for 28 years.

CTV, in encouraging contributions to the “Toy Mountain’’ undertaking, said donated items will support The Salvation Army.

“Every year,’’ said the TV broadcaster, “we invite businesses, schools, organizations, community groups, and CTV viewers to collect and donate toys to local families in need. As a growing number of Canadians struggle amid the increasing cost of living and financial uncertainty, the generosity of your donations will help bring smiles to children’s faces this holiday season.’’

People may donate a “new, unwrapped toy to a Toy Mountain bin at your local mall or other participating locations’’, said CTV. “Toys collected at the major malls are picked up regularly and transported to The Salvation Army Toy Distribution Warehouse.  Arrangements can be made for toys, collected through a group effort, to be picked up where 100 toys have been gathered.’’