KITCHENER – A week after residents walked through the parking lot of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium for a reverse Santa Claus parade, more cars were rolled in to drop off donations for a good cause.
Trucks full of hockey equipment piled up for a campaign that benefited young people in 35 First Nations communities across Ontario.
“I wanted to do something to give back to the community and that was my way of doing it,” said Graham McWaters, senior project volunteer. “I just contacted a lot of people everywhere, some as far as Ottawa. Even the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators have helped us in the past.
McWaters adds that the goal of the campaign is to give young people in communities a chance to play, learn team building skills and get active.
Volunteers from the area and local hockey teams collected the donations and sorted them by item and size.
The First Nations hockey equipment drive has been taking place in communities across Ontario for the past five years, but this is the first time it has taken place in the Waterloo region.
“It looks like I’m getting double for tripling the amount I normally get, which tells me the community has a really big heart,” McWaters said.
Each item collected will be disinfected and distributed to First Nations youth next year.
“It’s great to give back to the community and certainly to help people who may not be able to afford to play hockey because it’s a great sport,” said Waterloo resident James Craig. “Our two children have lived and enjoyed it, so being able to share this joy is a wonderful experience.”