Costs put Fraser Valley Toy Run in jeopardy

Organizers say rising expenses are putting event's future in doubt.

The Fraser Valley Toy Run generally attracts some 800 riders

The Fraser Valley Toy Run generally attracts some 800 riders

Red tape and increased costs are causing organizers of the Fraser Valley Toy Run to question whether to continue hosting the annual event.

If the weather is poor, like this year’s dampened attendance of just 150 riders, there are not enough donations to cover rising expenses.

The annual social motorcycle ride, which collects items for Christmas bureaus in the Fraser Valley, leaves from meeting points in Mission and Chiliwack. Usually, 800 to 900 riders converge at the Ag-Rec Building in Abbotsford for coffee and donuts, a 50/50 and other draws. All participants bring a new toy for the Christmas Bureau, and there are cash donations – all collected and distributed to needy children and families in Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz.

It was first organized by Mission’s Ma and Pa Hopkins (Lenore and Barney, late of Mission) 26 toy runs ago. They had attended a similar event for Vancouver Christmas charities, and decided the Fraser Valley needed its own.

However, organizers say that since 2010 their costs have increased dramatically. The charge to rent the Ag-Rec Building has gone from approximately $400 to about $1,300.

At one time, event volunteers assisted police in traffic control. Now, organizers must submit a traffic plan and hire a flagging company at a cost of approximately $1,500 for the day.

Rhonda Santini said these costs are frustrating, because they detract from the amount donated to the Christmas Bureau.

“It’s a total charity event – everything goes to the kids,” she said.

She noted Universal Flagging already gives the event a reduced rate on its services.

Barney Hopkins Jr. is among those who have taken over running the event from his parents. He explained that if the run gets 800 riders, as it does many years, it is still worthwhile, even with the added costs. If it rains, as it did this year, and only 150 riders show up, organizers struggle to cover costs.

He feels the Ag-Rec Building should be available to such a charity event free of charge.

“What is that building for – a money-maker, or for the community?”

The Toy Run had been overcharged for the rental of Ag-Rec, and the bill was adjusted, but only by $116. Traffic control is administered by the Abbotsford Police, and is not a city hall issue.

The event is one of the major contributors for the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau.

“These guys – I can’t tell you how hard they work,” said Dave Murray, the Abbotsford Food Bank manager, which also operates the Christmas Bureau.

He said on a typical year the event generates close to 1,000 new toys for Fraser Valley children, and between $6,000 and $10,000 in cash. The small turnout for this year’s run has the Christmas Bureau behind.

“It’s a blow to us,” said Murray, adding the shortfall can only be made up  through donations.

“We’ll see if the community steps up.”

Just Posted

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

(Unsplash.com)
Protecting our elders: It’s up to all of us to look out for them

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read