General Q & A
Where do I help fill the boxes?
You don’t fill the boxes. The boxes are all filled at Santa’s Secret Warehouse prior to us receiving them. Star Staff and annual “packing” elves take care of packing the 45,000 boxes annually. The depots and volunteer delivery elves’ task is to deliver the already packed boxes directly to the families in their homes.
I am really busy this time of year – how long does it take?
Really, it depends on the size of the route and how much you prepare for the deliveries. Most volunteers take an hour or two to deliver the boxes. Because you are provided with a list of recipients with phone numbers, we recommend you call before hand and let people know when you’re going to be there to drop their boxes off. This advanced warning by phone really increases delivery success and reduces the number of attempts you need to make to get the box delievered.
How do I sign up to help deliver boxes?
You can register for a route right here online and we will reserve you a route. Because of the popularity of this task, we often have a waiting list. Additionally, you can register to be a volunteer elf at MCC Toronto (115 Simpson Ave.) after services at the Info Centre or at our Registration Table.
I do not have a car – can I still deliver boxes?
You really do need a car for this. However, if you have a friend would has a car we suggest recruiting them to drive the sleigh!
I have kids – can they help too?
Families take their kids along to help deliver the gift boxes, absolutely! It is a great lesson in generosity and they see how other kids live. Also, older kids in high school can receive volunteer time credits. We are happy to sign their form for the number of hours it takes to do your route. Just let us know ahead of time, when you pick up your boxes.
I live outside the Riverdale or Thorncliffe Park Area – can I still volunteer?
Absolutely – many of the volunteers live outside the delivery area. Depending on where you live, we can give you a route that will make deliveries and getting home convenient. We have volunteers from North York volunteer through the MCC Toronto Depot for example, but it really is up to your schedule on the day of the box pick up and evenings throughout the week and the following Saturday. If you live in Brampton, for example, which is significantly far from our depot location we can try to hook you up with a local Brampton depot to volunteer in your area. Just contact us and let us know where you live and we will send a message of to the Warehouse to see who can help you. But if you in the general metropolitan area we can get you a route to deliver.
Delivery Related Q & A
Where to I pick up my boxes?
At Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, 115 Simpson Ave.
How do I know where to deliver to and to whom?
We have a system all in place for you to make deliveries fairly painless. When you come to pick up your boxes you will see a stack marked with your name. Behind your name sign, there will be a route map marked with all the stops on your route, and a list of stops you will be making, which will include the family’s name and phone number and address. Each box is marked with the child’s name on the end, and an address label on the lid. Families receiving multiple boxes for more than one child will have all their boxes bundled securely together so you know the boxes belong to the one address.
Do I have to deliver them the day I pick them up?
No, you have one week to successfully deliver your route of boxes.
Can I pick the route I receive?
Unfortunately, due to the large number of volunteers and routes needed to be delivered, we really can not guarantee that you receive a specific route. We do our best, when a request for a specific location is made to get a route as close as possible, but we can not guarantee it.
Do I have to wear a Santa Hat?
Santa Hats and Elf hats are optional, although the kids love it if you do wear one! They are easily convinced that you are a personal assistant to Santa and the hat helps with the authenticity.
If they are not home, can I leave the boxes with a neighbour
No. Never leave a box with a neighbour, superintendent of any other stranger. Although it is a nice offer on their part, people often do not get their boxes when they are left with strangers. It is OUR task to give them their boxes, not give them to someone else to be responsible for. The only situation where you can leave it will someone other than the parent, is if you have spoken on the phone and they ask you to. They then know it is with someone else – and who has it. If you are delivering in apartment buildings, never leave the boxes in front of anyone’s door – ever.
If they are not home, can I leave the box on a porch or inside a screen door?
No. Never leave the box on a porch or inside a screen door. People move and even though the address is correct, the people inside may not be correct. You ONLY leave a box with a family member once you verify it is the correct family, and they instruct you to leave the box in a special area (many a box has been left inside a backyard bbq – but ONLY WITH THE recipients explicit permission and instruction to do so).
What if I can not Deliver a box?
We ask that you try at least THREE times to deliver a box, and get creative, call the number and leave a message, do an internet look-up, ask a neighbour or the superintendant if the family has moved. If you try at least three times (write each date you attempt delivery right on the label of the box) and still the box can not be delivered, it is considered undeliverable and MUST be returned to MCC Toronto.
What happens if they have moved?
The box is to be considered undeliverable, and MUST be returned to MCC Toronto.
Undeliverable Boxes Q & A
What does it mean to be undeliverable?
We ask that you try at least THREE times to deliver a box, and get creative, call the number and leave a message, do an internet look-up, ask a neighbour or the superintendant if the family has moved. If you try at least three times and still the box can not be delivered, then it is considered undeliverable.
What do I do with an undeliverable box?
You make a note on your delivery list as to the reason it is undeliverable, and MUST be returned to MCC Toronto.
What happens to the undeliverable boxes?
For the most part, the MCC Toronto Depot has a great track record of delivery success. Out of 1600 boxes only about 35-40 get returned by volunteers as “undeliverable”. However, out of those 50 returned, often less than half are actually deliverable. We work very hard to find the families. First, each family is given a code and it is on the address label. We immediately send that code in to the Warehouse to see if they have any additional information on the family (like a new phone number or new address) and often they do. Once we get the new information, we make arrangements to have the box delivered. We will often search online with a reverse look-up in case the phone number is right, but they have indeed moved. Once we get confirmation from The Warehouse that the box is to be considered undeliverable, officially, we then return it to the warehouse for distribution to someone else.