Toy run collection returns to Toronto Diggers for fourth year on November 23

ALL STAR CAST: Santa and his parade of friends will return to Toronto for the fourth annual toy run collection on Saturday, November 23. The parade will arrive at Toronto Diggers 1.30pm.
ALL STAR CAST: Santa and his parade of friends will return to Toronto for the fourth annual toy run collection on Saturday, November 23. The parade will arrive at Toronto Diggers 1.30pm.

The generosity of the Lake Macquarie community is shining bright with thousands of dollars worth of toy donations having already been made for the annual Toronto toy run ahead of the main collection event on November 23.

Last year the run, led by Santa, his motorbike-riding reindeer, Mrs Claus and a cast of characters, collected about $6000 worth of toys, which was added to the overall Bikers for Kids Newcastle Toy Run haul that is donated to the Salvation Army and distributed to families across the Hunter in time for Christmas.

"The event gets bigger every year," Linda Coleman, one of the Toronto toy run collection organisers, said. "People have been dropping off toys to Toronto Diggers left, right and centre. We've already filled a trailer with toys and we still have the actual run to do."

Ms Coleman has been involved with the Newcastle Toy Run for 10 years. The Toronto collection was conceived four years ago when Toronto Diggers contacted organisers behind the hugely popular Stockton to Newcastle toy run wishing to donate $1000 worth of items.

Santa's 'reindeers' during last year's Toronto toy run collection.

Santa's 'reindeers' during last year's Toronto toy run collection.

Ms Coleman, a Toronto resident, said she would be happy to collect the club's donations but, wishing to add some Christmas flair to it, asked the Newcastle Toy Run committee whether it would be okay to take along Santa and a few friends. So was born the Toronto toy run.

"I wouldn't want my kids wake up on Christmas without a present under the tree and I'll be buggered if I can stand by and let that to happen to other families," Ms Coleman said. "Every child should be able to get a new toy at Christmas, and that's what we're trying to make sure happens."

Santa and his parade of characters including Mickey, Minnie and superheroes such as Batman and Deadpool will be escorted from Fenton Avenue via The Boulevarde to Toronto Diggers by Lake Macquarie police on November 23.

The parade is expected to arrive at Diggers about 1.30pm. There will be a free reptile show at the club available from 11.30am on the day.

THE CREW: Santa and an array of characters (pictured here last year) will again greet families at the toy run at Toronto Diggers on Saturday, November 23. Donated toys are being accepted at the club for the big day. Picture: Supplied

THE CREW: Santa and an array of characters (pictured here last year) will again greet families at the toy run at Toronto Diggers on Saturday, November 23. Donated toys are being accepted at the club for the big day. Picture: Supplied

At Diggers, families will have a chance to personally stock Santa's sleigh with their toy donations that will go to the Salvation Army, as well as grab some photos with the jolly man in red and his friends.

"It's incredible to be part of the parade," Ms Coleman said. "To see little kids lining the street with signs and making their donations, seeing how happy they are to be helping other kids, it takes your breath away."

Ms Coleman said she most recently accepted a number of donations made by Toronto Diggers members who had won prizes in the recent toy raffle and generously donated them to the run.

Donations can also be made to Toronto Diggers ahead of the parade, which will be added to the sleigh on the day.

Santa Ray during last year's Toronto toy run collection.

Santa Ray during last year's Toronto toy run collection.

Lake Macquarie businesses wishing to contribute to the event are asked to contact Toronto Digger's assistant manager Kylie Steel on 4959 2411.

Social motorcycle riders wishing to join Santa's convoy on the day are asked to phone Ms Coleman on 0431 140 799.

The Newcastle Toy Run will be held on Sunday, December 1.

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