Andrew Rehberg has never forgotten the fear of seeing nothing under the tree for his kids on Christmas morning.
“It was a little disheartening, you work as hard as you can and you try to get the best jobs and sometimes you can’t provide,” recalled Rehberg, from Truro.
It was only thanks to the Emergency Health Services’ annual toy drive that Rehberg was able to give his children Daisy, Molly and Madeline any gifts at all.
Today, his family are in a happier place – and giving back to the same program that once helped them. Rehberg and his children handed over toys including a plastic toy duck to EHS paramedics on Nov. 30, when they held their annual toy drive outside Walmart.
It was a teachable moment for the Rehberg children.
“It’s always good to have someone out there to lend a helping hand,” said Rehberg. “It’s about the joy of giving.”
The joy was shared far and wide despite Saturday’s snowy weather, not least of all by the paramedics themselves, who were happy to help out the local community.
“This is a better moment,” said paramedic Craig Todd. “we do see a lot of really horrific things in our jobs and this is a positive.”
The joy of giving was shared by other shoppers coming out of Walmart who stopped by to donate toys. They included Lego sets, dolls and board games like Monopoly, among others.
“Making everyone happy is what we should be doing,” said shopper Diane Dunlop after dropping off her gift.
Toys will be delivered to children whose families are facing financial difficulties or serious illness.
Once toy donations are collected by EHS, they will be sent to the Christmas Index Program, who will then distribute them to local charities.
The 2019 drive marks the fifth year in a row this event has run in Truro. It was the first of several toy drives that are being held across Nova Scotia before Christmas.