Sixteen years and counting.
Tanya McEwan – along with seven other volunteers – collected 102 unwrapped toys at the West Coast Express Port Haney Station on Saturday morning.
For McEwan, this is the 16th time that she has gone to the train platform to trade train tickets for toys for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper. They also collected food and money.
“We’ve been doing this since it started,” she said. “It is an important journey for me and my kids, to teach them what Christmas is all about,” she added.
McEwan and her kids Chase and Mackenzie were also joined by volunteers Bill Sawchuk, Sydney Hammer, Savannah Wise, Katie Pesut, and Devin Powley.
“We had 102 toys, plus food and cash, which is a nice surprise given today’s economy. It’s great the way this community pulls together,” McEwan said.
Mike Bergman agrees. Bergman has been a station attendant for West Coast Express for 17 years.
“Santa Train is my favourite special train we do. The Christmas spirit is extremely high here,” he explained.
“I’ve always been impressed and overwhelmed with the generosity of the people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows,” said Bergman.
“One lady brought four presents for one ticket. That’s an example of generosity,” he said.
Next Saturday (Dec. 15) the group will be back to trade return tickets for unwrapped toys at Port Haney Station at 10:19 a.m. and Maple Meadows Station at 10:25 a.m.