Medina’s 1-day toy drive switches to ‘Santa Hat Drive’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 November 2020 at 12:17 pm

Donations will be shared with MAAC, Community Action for their Christmas efforts with local families

MEDINA – The annual Parade of Lights in downtown Medina has also been a chance for a one-day toy drive, with community members dropping off gifts and donations at Canalside Tattoo on Main Street in Medina.

Those gifts and donations are then shared with Medina Area Association of Churches for its Christmas Box Program and also to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.

But this year, the parade won’t pass through the downtown and there won’t be several thousand people gathered for a holiday celebration.

Instead, Medina is doing a “reverse parade” at the school campus on Nov. 28, with the floats stationary and people driving by to see them decorated displays.

Andrew Szatkowski, chairman of the annual toy drive, decided to instead do a “Santa Hat Drive” at the parade where people can donate money, in a similar manner that they give to boot drives by firefighters.

“We didn’t want to give up because we have been gaining momentum,” Szatkowski said about the annual toy drive. “We want to give people a chance to chip in.”

The money from the Santa Hat Drive will be used to supplement the toys and clothing given by MAAC to Medina families. Some of the proceeds will also go to Community Action, which this year is shifting from giving presents to gift cards. The agency will continue to give families food baskets with a turkey or ham in a sealed package.

Szatkowski in the first three toy drives offered an incentive where people could win one of 20 packages donated by local businesses. For every $5 spent, people would get a chance to win a package.

But Szatkowski didn’t want to ask local businesses to donate to a package this year, given the difficult economic climate in the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is more information about the “Santa Hat Drive” on a Facebook event page, including an option to use Venmo to send money for the effort.

Canalside Tattoo also is selling some whimsical calendars of their staff as a benefit for the toy fund drive. Erin Townsend took the photos. Click here for more information.

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