The holiday season can be a difficult time for families in need but this is even more apparent when Bermudian families continue to struggle through the ongoing pandemic and the economic consequences that have followed.

For the fourth consecutive year therefore, HSBC 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 19th year.

Between Monday, November 15th and Friday, December 3rd, 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 2021 presented great challenges for all of us, we are equally overwhelmed by the community spirit and support that shone through in last year’s Toys for Tots appeal.”

In addition to coordinating donations, HSBC is also donating $20,000 and 100 holiday food hampers to CPC clients in need of groceries, and HSBC employees will help gift-wrap all the toys donated.

The gifts, vouchers and food hampers will all be given out at the annual CPC Christmas Party on Sunday, December 12th, 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.”

Toys for Tots continues to be a good example of how our community works together to ensure its members feel supported through what may be considered a very stressful time for some families.  In addition to this appeal, HSBC will once again donate $20,000 to the Coalition to provide an estimated 150 grocery hampers and vouchers to families for the holidays. On behalf of HSBC Bermuda, I would like to thank The Coalition, the retail vendors and corporate entities that continue to support this initiative in collecting donated items and also to those individuals who donate annually to this worthy cause, without whom it could not be a success,” says Judy Doidge, HSBC Corporate Secretary and Executive Sponsor supporting the partnership.  

While the deadline for toy donations is Friday, December 3rd, 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.