The holiday season can be a difficult time for families in need but this is even more apparent in a year when many Bermudian families are struggling in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic consequences that have followed.

For the third consecutive year therefore, HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd. has teamed up with the Coalition for the Protection of Children (CPC), to support their Toys for Tots community initiative, which is now in its 18th year.

Between Monday, 16th November and Friday 4th December, anyone able to help is encouraged to donate new toys and gifts for children of all ages; diapers, toiletries or new clothing for babies, and vouchers for essentials such as children’s clothing, school uniform, utilities or groceries.

Donations can be dropped off at the Harbourview Centre, St. George’s, Somerset and Church Street branches of HSBC. They can also be dropped off at Annex Toys, Phoenix Kids, People’s Pharmacy, both Price Rite locations, Arnold’s Discount Warehouse, Gorham’s Ltd. and Bermuda Bookstore. Donations must be unwrapped so the CPC can make sure the right gift goes to the right child.

“It has been a very difficult year for Coalition families, most of whom are single parent families, and the need for everyday essentials such as food and help with utility bills has never been greater,” says Kelly Hunt, Executive Director of the CPC.

“In addition to basic necessities, we believe that every child deserves some extra joy during the Holiday season and we are therefore very grateful to HSBC for all the support they continue to give us both financially and physically. Without the Toys for Tots campaign, many children would have to go without this year.

“This campaign began in 2002, and each year we are overwhelmed by the generous response from our island community. While 2020 has presented great challenges for all of us, we are equally overwhelmed by the community spirit and support that has shone through in spite of everything and we hope this can continue.”

In addition to coordinating donations, HSBC is also donating funds towards around 100 holiday food hampers for CPC clients in need of groceries, and HSBC employees will help gift-wrap all the toys, which have been donated.

“We have always believed strongly in the importance of supporting our community’s young people, and this year especially, we are proud to once again sponsor such an important programme,” says Joanna Saldok, HSBC COO and Executive Sponsor of the CPC partnership. “We have worked with the CPC for over five years now on their various programmes, most recently on their ‘Roots for Success’ programme as well as the ‘Toys for Tots’ campaign. Through our partnership, we have witnessed first-hand the positive impact this organisation has on some of Bermuda’s most vulnerable families.

“This campaign would not be successful without help from the many other charitable businesses in Bermuda who support it by providing the space and opportunity for people to donate, as well as directly donating to the campaign themselves. Together, we hope to bring much wanted holiday cheer to those who need it the most.”

The gifts, vouchers and food hampers will all be given out at the annual CPC Christmas Party on Sunday 13th December, which this year, because of the pandemic, will take the form of a drive through. “Clients will pass by various ‘stations’ to collect their gifts, Christmas meal and other vendor treats,” adds Hunt who also emphasised that this year, pre-registration ahead of the party is mandatory “to ensure that we are prepared to give to families and do not have to turn anyone away due to lack of supply.”

While the deadline for toy donations is Friday 4th December, the Coalition welcomes all other donations, particularly items of necessity, at any time so they can help struggling families outside of the holiday period. Financial donations for example are used to support the charity’s Breakfast Programme and the provision of educational support services for young people.