Two Burnaby child-care centres for children with special needs have been inundated with donations, following a recent theft of toys reported in the Burnaby NOW.
"We have gotten a number of donations from people," said Carol Broomhall, spokesperson for the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion. "With this wonderful community response, the kids know there are some bad people in the world, but there are more good people."
BACI runs various child-care centres in Burnaby for children with and without special needs, two of which were recently robbed of their toys. In all, roughly $600 worth of toys was stolen. Variety Hotelier House Children's Centre in the Royal Oak area was hit the hardest, with all of their metal Tonka trucks taken. BACI is a non-profit organization that receives little government funding, and the toys and playtime are important for the children's emotional, physical and social development, Broomhall explained.
Once the story ran in the Burnaby NOW on April 17, BACI started receiving calls for donations. Global TV also picked up the story, and the children spoke of how "a stranger" had taken the toys, without asking to borrow them. Even more donations came in once the TV segment aired.
"They've been able to fully restock the toys that were stolen from that centre and have had other donations that have supported the toys stolen at the other centre as well," Broomhall said.
One family donated eight or nine of the same type of metal Tonka trucks that were stolen and also threw in a wagon. There have also been donations of books and money.
"It has been a really lovely process. The children have not only had all of the toys replaced that were missing, but even more to support them in their play and their development," Broomhall said.
Lesley Cannon, supervisor at the Variety centre, said the children were very happy.
"Every day they come in, we're saying there's something new, so they've been very happy. Our toy shelf is overflowing. It's been amazing," she said. "I just want to say thank you very much to the public that has donated to us. It's been heartwarm-ing."
According to Cannon, one of the children brought his own truck from home to their regular show-and-tell session to donate to the centre following the theft.
"One particular child fetched in a Tonka truck, and he said, 'I'm going to leave it here so we can play with it in the sandbox and we can share together,'" Cannon said.
"When he said this in front of all the children, we're like, 'Oh my goodness, I think we need Kleenex," she added, laughing.
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