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The Parish Hall of All Saints, Agassiz opened its doors on Wed. Dec. 14th and 75 primary students from Kent Elementary located on the far side of town filed in looking for gifts for their loved ones. This event was the brainchild of Joey Ellis of the Agassiz Lion’s Club who became aware a couple of years ago that there were needy children in the community who could not afford to buy gifts for their family. The best way to reach and help them was through the school so school administrators were contacted and a plan developed.
On December 14th there was a great assortment to choose from: Christmas ornaments, stuffed animals, animated Santas and snowmen, and everything in-between. Gifts had been collected throughout the year by Joey Ellis and Fran Froehlich. Others were donated by the Lions Club, the Agassiz Thrift Shop and All Saints congregation; the tables were groaning with wonderful choices.
The classes were invited in time-slots of one hour each throughout the day. This price of the children’s gifts was not to exceed $2.
When the children arrived they were greeted with a warming cup of hot chocolate and cookies.
Fran Froehlich, a member of All Saints and a retired Kent Elementary teacher, was involved with Joey Ellis in the planning of the event from the beginning. She spent hours in preparation, and was also in attendance on the day. Other church members assisted in this worth-while cause.

Gerry Chapell from the B.C. Wooden Toy Makers Society has participated each year. Last Christmas Gerry and other Society members donated 40 cars, trucks, wooden puzzles and more to the sale. This year 90 of the toys included in the sale were built by the woodworkers. Each child was given a free wooden toy to take home. Two beautiful trains were raffled off and won by a Kindergarten girl, and Gr.2 boy. Also a huge teddy-bear donated by Sonja Hill, one of our parishioners, was won by a lucky little girl.

The teachers organized the wrapping of presents back at the school, so as not to incur any further expense for their students. It was heart-warming to see so many happy children choosing gifts for the people important in their lives.

The B.C. Wooden Toy Makers Society was formed in 2004. It is a registered non-profit organization of creative woodworkers who supply toys and gifts for kids in hospital, charities and communities at Christmas time.
Image: Joey Ellis (Mrs. Claus), Gerry Chapell, and Grade 3 students from Kent Elementary: (PHOTO Anthea Lewis)