What Santa Claus Fund kids receive
Originally printed in the Toronto Star – Reprinted with Permission
by Valerie Hauch, Staff Reporter
Squeals from the younger ones and a chorus of “cool” — translated into many languages — those are the sorts of sounds that will be heard in GTA households when 45,000 kids open their Star Santa Claus Fund boxes.
Deciding what goes into the boxes, which cover newborn to age 12, is the job of Barbara Mrozek, director of Toronto Star Charities and Philanthropy.
Every penny of the budget – this year’s goal is $1.6 million – goes to buying the actual items placed in colourful, sturdy cardboard boxes. The Star covers all administrative costs and a legion of Star staff and volunteers help with packing and deliveries.
“I start shopping in February,” says Mrozek, who spends a lot of time researching what she can buy and who can give her the best price for the best possible quality. Every box has a hat, mitts, socks, book, clothing item, toothbrush and toothpaste (except for the newborns and 1-year-olds), toy and candy.
“Okay, the candy in the newborn’s box is for mom and dad,” laughs Mrozek. “They deserve a treat.”
Each box costs about $35 to fill and that’s a result of scrupulous shopping.
“If you were going to try and fill those boxes shopping at retail it would cost about $70 to $75 per box,” says Mrozek.
It’s a long way from the 66 cents it cost to fill a Santa Claus Fund box in 1910. A Toronto Star story of the day detailed what was in a girl’s package: a pair of woollen stockings, woollen mitts, an orange, a candy cane, a half pound of pure candy, a pound of nuts, a workbox and a 4-inch-wide hair ribbon.
We’ve taken a selection of boxes for different age groups — a 1-year-old, 6-year-old and 10-year-old — to give you an idea of how Santa Claus Fund dollars are spent.
Box for 1-year-old: Multicoloured socks; sour gummy box; inflatable bath fun frog from Madd Kidz which attaches to tub with suction, has 3 throw rings; yellow duck insignia hat, fleece-lined with chin strap that attaches at side with Velcro and matching mitts; hard cover Scholastic book, The Noisy Egg, which is about a mother duck and her eggs and ducklings and has touchable surfaces; Winkz soap scrunchy for bathing with hidden duck character or chick; 12 cotton-polyester wash cloths, different colours, from Cherokee Baby; two-piece blue and grey top and pants set, fleece-lined, flying baby dragon.
Box for 6-year-olds: Purple water-resistant mitts; purple fleece-lined wool hat with drop-braided ties, 150-gram box of Sour Gummy Buddies; Colgate 100 mL toothpaste, strawberry flavour for kids; Colgate soft toothbrush; cotton-polyester sport socks; Bop n’Hop Bouncing Ball, inflatable jumping ball with easy grip handles from Madd Kidz; Scholastic’s 101 Canadian Jokes; purple long sleeve top, fleece-lined, white snowflake decals and orange wolf outline.
Box for 10-year-olds: Jersey with zip in front, funky white and black pattern; white thermal socks; hardcover book, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress; toothbrush and 100-ml strawberry-flavoured Colgate toothpaste; 150-gram box of sour gummy buddies; red, fleece-lined thinsulate gloves with Velcro at wrist that can be pulled tight; red, white and black toque-style hat; 33-piece microscope set which includes blank slides, prepared slide, collecting vials and magnifier.