July 24th, 2024

Avonlea elves hit toy store to buy gifts for children in need


By Lethbridge Herald on November 23, 2023.

Melissa Fyker puts a gift in a shopping cart at Toys R Us on Thursday morning as staff of Avonlea Homes shopped for the Angel Tree campaign. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A generous donation from sponsor Avonlea Homes had Santa’s elves from the Lethbridge home builder hitting the floor at Toys R Us early Thursday morning to buy gifts for 520 children.

Another shopping spree for 500 more kids is also planned to help the annual Angel Tree campaign.

The Angel Tree program, run by Lethbridge Family Services, will be helping to bring some Christmas joy to youth for the 31st year.

Recently, Avonlea has contributed $20,700 to the Angel Tree program, an amount that has increased since a recent presentation to the organization of $19,200.

Ron Tyslau, the customer experience manager at Avonlea, greeted members of Avonlea’s  team early at the toy store, giving them instructions along with gift tags before sending them down the aisles to fill carts.

Shoppers were told there was a need for several specific gift types including dolls and learning toys for newborns to two-year-olds.

Games for kids 6-11 are also needed. 

“Our goal here on our first shop is we’ll be shopping for approximately 520 toys. Then we’ll do a second shop and do another 500 toys,” said Tyslau Thursday.

“What’s really, really amazing about that is it’s a 62 per cent increase in toys to the program so that’s huge. Toys equal money and that just puts it right back on our trades who have been absolutely phenomenal. Our community’s phenomenal,” Tyslau added.

Shoppers were each given a bundle of 20 angels for specific age groups. They then hit the area of the store associated with that age group and picked toys they thought boys or girls would like.

“It’s sad to be here in the fact we wish we didn’t have to and everything was a lot better in the world that we live in but it’s not so we decided we’re not going to sit on the sidelines and we really hadn’t been because last year we donated over 625 toys,” said Tyslau.

When Angel Tree approached Avonlea about being the presenting sponsor, “we took it, we had a great marketing and design team that came up with great plans. Our trades have been absolutely phenomenal, right beside us all the way.”

That support comes despite tough times for the home building industry in Canada which is dealing with the impacts of inflation including high interest rates which are deterring people from purchasing or building homes.

Tyslau said it’s been a tough year for the industry, which the trades have felt, as well but they have come through.

“The entire landscape of house building has changed in Lethbridge, especially but our trades support – and some of these trades have been with us for five years. . .it just keeps growing so I’m excited to see what the end of this year brings. And I know it will bring a lot of happy faces,” added Tyslau.

Tyslau encourages anyone interested to contribute to the Angel Tree program.

“It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Angel Tree has 132 drop-off locations and more than 500 volunteers working hard to make sure 3,800 children receive a gift bundle this year.

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