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Annual giving event draws in big crowd

Toy trucks, huge teddy bears, bicycles and even a homemade skateboard were among the donations dropped off at a special Christmas event in Penticton Tuesday.

This Christmas season marks the 20th year the Toys for Tots to Teens has been held in the city.

"It is to provide gifts for children and teens who would otherwise not have any in our community," said event organizer Deborah Silk. 

Traditionally, people of all ages, groups and school classes bring unwrapped gifts to the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

In turn, the people who donate the gifts enjoy a free breakfast, served by members of the Penticton Vees. The Vees and local high school students also help with clean up and people are welcomed to the event by the Downtown Rotary Club of Penticton.

The entertainment was provided by a Christmas Childrens' Choir from Uplands Elementary.

On Tuesday a steady stream of people walked through the doors of the hotel ballroom to drop off new toys. One of the gifts for a teen was a skateboard made by two boys from KVR Middle School.

For friends Vicki Morgan and Jill Gratton it is an annual tradition.

"It's part of the season and giving back to the less fortunate," said Morgan.

While Gratton likes seeing all the young people volunteering and giving back.

Sponsors of the event range from area businesses to schools and community clubs.

Among the beneficiaries of the toys are the Salvation Army, South Okanagan Women in Need Transition House,  Dragonfly Pond Family Respite Society, Penticton and District Community Resources, Ooknakane Friendship Centre, Church of the Nazarene and Pen-Hi.

"I like how this brings the community and team together," said Penticton Vees player Steen Cooper. "It's nice to see everyone here."



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