Carleton Place towing company donates approximately 1,000 gifts to those in need

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“I think people are really going to need it this year, and those who are able to give really recognize it.”

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Towing company owner Peter Porteous said the drive for toys and gifts donated this year to those in need in the Carleton Place area is worth more than $ 10,000, crediting social media and the pickup at home for helping to increase this number.

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This is the 15th year that Porteous’ company, All Purpose Towing, has held a holiday toy drive, with this year’s donations collected by the OPP for donation to Family Services and to Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Children, who then distribute the gifts to those in need in the community.

The toy drive, which ended on Thursday and sees All Purpose match all the goodies that are given, gathered around 1,000 goodies, almost doubling the around 600 picked up in 2020, Porteous said.

He believes financial hardship caused by the ongoing pandemic has motivated more people to donate this year.

“I think people are really going to need it this year, and those who are able to give really recognize it.”

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Porteous said he didn’t really anticipate this community adoption when he started his donation campaign. He credits social media for the increase in donations in recent years.

“When my kids were younger I took them to pick the little angel trees and it kind of steamed from there. We just decided to match the gifts. Five years ago we had maybe 40 gifts, in the last two years it’s become huge, ”Porteous explained.

“Every time someone makes a donation, we match them, but we also take their picture and post it on Facebook and thank those people for their donations. I think it makes people want to get involved.

Also useful is a new addition to the reader: a literal van. Porteous said they would use a GMC truck as a sort of “community cruiser,” offering to “come and get toys or food or whatever people want to donate.”

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And, while toys are a great gift, gift cards are popular too.

“Sometimes in mid-January people have a hard time getting groceries and things, so gift cards really help.”

As an Ottawa local, Porteous says he is proud to have made a family tradition of supporting the community. And, although he receives gifts from the whole community, there is always a decidedly family element to the conduct.

“When I asked my kids to pick up angels from the tree, it taught them that there were less fortunate children, and they’ve carried on that tradition now,” Porteous said.

“My daughter who lives at Base Trenton, she uses Amazon to send gifts, and my other daughter, who just lives in Carleton Place, comes with her three kids and they all donate.”

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