Toy drive remembering Richmond's secret Santa goes this Saturday

The 13th Annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive grand toy count in Richmond on Saturday will strive to hit more than 40,000 toys during its existence.

Santa’s helpers from across the Lower Mainland will gather in Richmond for a grand toy count that will be helping over a dozen good causes this year.

Everyone is invited to bring a new toy and enjoy holiday cheer with activities for kids, treats and a photo booth with Santa.

Ghirra’s toy drive started in 2007, when he passed away suddenly, leaving behind his wife and four young sons. 

“There were so many heartwarming stories shared about his life, the great person he was,” said toy drive organizer, Harvey Kooner.

“But the one that touched me the most was finding out that Victor had quietly been purchasing thousands of dollars in toys for Children’s Hospital, and donating them to needy children who weren’t as lucky as his own.

“When they would ask, ‘who are you, and where are these toys from, which organization?’ True to his nature, he would simply reply, ‘it doesn’t matter who I am, or where I am from, these toys are for the kids, and that’s all you need to know.’” 

It turned out that Ghirra had been making trips to the hospital for over a dozen years. 

He was purely being himself, and never told anyone what he was up to.  Hearing about those selfless acts was the genesis for this annual event.

Ghirra’s golden heart inspired a toy drive, which in the past 12 years, has collected around 37,650 toys and distributed to dozens of non-profit organizations.

For those wanting to donate, bring an unwrapped toy on Saturday, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Riverside Banquet Hall, 14500 River Road.

© Richmond News