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'Everybody’s struggling': Christmas for Kids sees demand spike

Innisfil charitable organization will likely help about 250 families, including 800 kids, this holiday season

Myrlene Boken is seeing the demand for help grow.

The Christmas for Kids (C4Kids) president has watched the organization go from serving 12 families during its first holiday season in operation in 1996 to what will likely be more than 250 this December. In fact, the number of families receiving assistance has doubled in the last four years alone. 

“Everybody’s struggling right now,” Boken said, during the official launch of the organization’s annual toy drive at Innisfil town hall Nov. 16. “We are hoping people will give as generously as they are able. We love our children and our families. We’re preparing for a great year. As Innisfil has grown, (the number of people) in need has also grown.”

While the organization is still collecting wish lists from families, nearly 800 children are expected to get support through the program this holiday season, she said.

“Although we’re all hurting, I’m hoping people can just do a little bit,” Boken said. “These kids don’t have a lot of joy in their lives. Even some small thing will be a huge help. If everybody gave something small we could cover a lot of ground.”

A handful of C4Kids representatives and local dignitaries attended Thursday's launch.

Residents are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys, non-perishable food items and gift cards by Dec. 15. But in an effort to provide more options to donors, C4Kids has also expanded its Angel and Amazon wish list programs.   

C4Kids is a registered charity incorporated in 2012 and it does support the Innisfil community throughout the year. The annual toy drive recognizes the holiday season can be a stressful time for families who have limited financial resources. But donations stay within the community and surplus is kept in inventory to support C4Kids' other year-round initiatives, Boken said.

“As soon as we come out of Christmas, we’ll be gearing up for Easter, then birthdays and graduations,” she said. “There’s always a need.”

Town hall is one of more than a dozen drop-off locations in the Innisfil area. Monetary donations are also accepted at

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Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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