Some underprivileged families in Montreal took part in what may be the only celebration they’ll have this holiday season. The Welcome Hall Mission held it’s annual “Noël Pour Tous” toy giveaway, on Saturday, putting smiles on the faces of hundreds of children.
“What we’re trying to do is ensure that we give people who may struggle, may not have a lot of Christmas presents or great experiences around the holiday….an opportunity to have a really good time today,” said Welcome Hall Mission president and CEO Sam Watts.
At the event located in Montreal’s Saint-Henri borough, families were able to participate in a craft station and each child got candy, a stocking and the choice of their own present.
Welcome Hall Mission welcomes Montreal families to their Noël Pour Tous event
Eight-year-old Emmanuel Olaoye chose an air hockey set because he said he wants to play with his big brother.
His mother Nike Olaoye has brought her three boys to the event for five years now. She says it’s the best part of their holiday.
“This is the only place we get Christmas gifts for the kids. So they always looking towards this every year,” she told Global News.
Families must be members of the Welcome Hall Mission’s free grocery store program to participate.
“The age ranges anywhere from babies all the way up to pre-teens. So we’re trying to make sure that we take care of everybody and respond to the needs of every family we serve,” said Watts.
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Many of the families recently arrived in Quebec. Alejandro Rincon moved from Mexico with his wife and two kids in May.
“We’re hoping to have a white Christmas, I hope. And the kids are very excited [for] all of this,” said Rincon.
His family says they’re thankful for the services Welcome Hall Mission provides.
“We couldn’t believe it when when people told us there’s a place where you can get presents for the kids in December and then you can get groceries for the family,” said Rincon.
This years record-breaking number of gifts were all donated by Montrealers.
“This is the biggest number of gifts that we will have ever given away,” said Watts, “So 9,000 gifts over the course of three different days to 1,900 kids.”
Welcome Hall Mission will give out more presents on Monday and Tuesday.
After taking a day off, organizing for next years festivity will begin.
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