Drive-thru Santa Claus parade patrons urged to bring teddy bear donations

The Teddy Bear Toss is going ahead this weekend despite the COVID-19 pandemic knocking the stuffing out of the local hockey schedule.

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The annual Teddy Bear Toss is going ahead this weekend, despite the COVID-19 pandemic knocking the stuffing out of the local hockey schedule.

The 23rd annual charity event, normally held during a Sarnia Sting home game, will be taking place Saturday night during the Sarnia Kinsmen’s drive-thru Santa Claus parade. Collection bins, manned by volunteers, will be set up at the Wellington Street and London Road entrances into Lambton College from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to collect new stuffed animals that will be distributed to local charities.

A spokesperson from Lambton Ford, the business that spearheads the bear-based event along with the Ontario Hockey League club, said donations can be tossed from vehicles into a large bag, preventing close contact amid the pandemic. The Kinsmen will also be collecting non-perishable goods.

Additional food and furry donations can be made next week at the car dealership and a few other locations.

More than 4,000 stuffed animals were collected in 2019 for an approximate total of 67,300 since the event began, benefiting nearly 20 local charities. In past years, they’ve been thrown on the Progressive Auto Sales Arena ice surface after the Sting’s first goal during a designated game, but the Ontario Hockey League’s season has been delayed due to the pandemic.

A similar event, hosted by the rival Knights, is taking place in London on Dec. 13.

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