With the help of generous donations, the Kiwanis Club of Cochrane has once again been able to brighten the holiday season for disadvantaged kids in the Cochrane area.

The local club braved the bitter cold weather on Sunday and hosted their annual Christmas toy project initiative. Kiwanis Club President Ron Gosselin says that with COVID-19 restrictions tightening even more in the weeks leading up, they had to be innovative with their approach this year.

"Two weeks before we assembled all of the 123 bags," says Gosselin. "We stored them without touching them for a full two weeks, so there was no issue with anything."

In addition to safe handling and storage of the goodie bags, this year's event was held drive-thru style with no contact pickup.

"When we did the distribution, we maintained distance with all the clients," says Gosselin. "None of the clients were allowed to get out of their cars, we put the stuff on the passenger side or the trunk."

The event typically takes place at the local Walmart, where 100 kids are treated to a holiday celebration and are given gift cards to shop for their own toy. 

Gosselin says that although they weren't able to bring families together for a celebration this year, they were still able to treat 123 local kids to a holiday experience. 

"In the bags, there was a $40.00 gift certificate, a teddy bear, dental products, a chocolate bar," says Gosselin. "We had socks and toques, scarves and mitts, and we also had a coupon for a little meal at McDonald's in there too."

Cochrane Toyota also donated 30 German-made sleds to the toy project initiative for local preschoolers to enjoy.

The Kiwanis Club of Cochrane will continue to accept donations to aid in next year's toy project initiative until the new year.

Donations can be made online and they are tax-deductible. To donate to next year's Christmas toy project initiative and help brighten the holidays for a child in Cochrane, you can click here.