The employees of The Bargain! Shop pose for a photo with Santa on their annual Sleigh Day. Front row, left to right: Vera Derr, Kirby Lemieux, Santa, Cathy Woods, Rochelle Ferro. Back row: Ramneek Deol, Donna Fakla.                                CLAIRE PALMER/STAR PHOTO

The employees of The Bargain! Shop pose for a photo with Santa on their annual Sleigh Day. Front row, left to right: Vera Derr, Kirby Lemieux, Santa, Cathy Woods, Rochelle Ferro. Back row: Ramneek Deol, Donna Fakla. CLAIRE PALMER/STAR PHOTO

Third annual toy drive a big success

On Saturday, December 7, The Bargain! Shop, one of Golden’s largest retailers, wrapped up their annual toy drive.

In total, they managed to raise over $6,000 for the Golden Food Bank, well over their goal of $5,000. In fact, by December 6, the drive had already surpassed their goal, hitting $5,294 prior to the final day of fundraising. The fundraiser has been ongoing since November 16.

“I cannot express enough how touched and thankful I am for the generosity of the people who contributed in every way,” said Vera Derr, the manager of The Bargain! Shop. “It really puts a lump in your throat.”

This was the third year for the toy drive. In its first year, they set their goal at $3,000, which was quickly surpassed. Every year after that, they’ve raised their goal, and each year, it is surpassed.

Derr, along with her team at The Bargain! Shop, are impressed with the generosity that they see each and every year.

“Yesterday, I had a wonderfully generous man give $100 cash for a donation,” said Kirby Lemieux, one of the employees at The Bargain! Shop, and one of the organizers of the toy drive. “Right out of the blue, he just wanted to help us get to our goal. It just makes you feel so good!”

The drive wrapped up with what Derr calls their “sleigh day”, where the Nicholson Fire Department brings their fire trucks to the shop, which the employees then proceed to fill with toys.

The fire trucks are the show piece of the event, which attracts families from across Golden to take pictures.

Derr also likes to bring in photos with Santa free of charge, as well as a bake sale with goodies selling for 50 cents, each year, as a way of ending the toy drive with a bang.

“It’s a hectic time of year, but we have such a good time doing this,” said Derr. “I’m the luckiest merchant in town because of the people I have. They really go above and beyond, and it’s a great representation of Golden as a whole.”

At the end of the day, the employees at The Bargain! Shop are just happy to be doing their part to help families in need.

“Doing the toy drive, sometimes we get ‘No’s, sometimes we get ‘Yes’s, but we have to keep trying,” said Lemieux. “If we don’t try, we aren’t going to get anywhere, and the more we try, the better we get.”

The toy drive is a part of a wider campaign put on every year by Red Apple Bargain stores. Red Apple will match 10 per cent of all toy donations collected during the toy drive, and donate that as well.

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