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Older children need Christmas gifts too

By Rebecca Bartlett [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Christmas season is full of promotions for toy drives. But what about children older than 10 who don’t necessarily want Lego and toy cars?

“At that age children are developing their own character, they’re not so much Tonka and matchbox. So they’re more into the cellphone and video game thing. So that is tough there,” said Brian Barnes of the Kinsmen Club of Trenton [2]. It’s toy drive sponsors children aged zero to 14.

Some of the issue around getting toys and gifts for older children is that some people aren’t sure of what to get them.

“Of course we can’t afford to give every kid an Xbox, so motorized toys for boys as in the motorized 4 wheelers and the new drones, that type of thing,” said Barnes.

“Girls tend to like makeup and jewellery and that type of thing, but a better quality. Not dollar store makeup, they prefer a better quality than the dollar store, so that’s how we cater to that,” Barnes added.

He also said that if the community would like to support older children but are unsure of what to buy them, they accept monetary donations, and then people from the Kinsmen Club will go and purchase the gifts.

“It’s a very rewarding program,” Barnes added.

The Tweed Salvation Army [3] sponsors children up to the age of 16 through Christmas Hampers. Jay Crewson from the Salvation Army said it’s easier to buy gifts for younger children, because a lot of them have interest in similar things. He mentioned that the current craze is Paw Patrol [4] and that most children would love gifts associated with that show. 

But, one of Belleville’s biggest toy drives doesn’t sponsor older children.

“We don’t do kids over 10, the reasoning is once you get into the older kids, they’re not actually getting toys anymore, they’re actually just getting gifts. As a toy drive our mandate is to provide toys, not to just provide gifts, because then there would really be no cutoff because everybody would need gifts,” said Ryan Turcotte of the Belleville Firefighter Toy Drive [5].

All three of these programs accept donations after Christmas to help them start up the toy drive for the next Christmas.