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Kamloops man seeking toy drive donations for Alberta families

Mike Garratt lost his son Sean last year when a television set fell on the child.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Mike Garratt
November 25, 2019 - 5:00 PM

A Kamloops man who has suffered through a difficult year is hoping to make the holidays brighter for other families.

Mike Garratt lost his 21-month old son last year when a TV fell on the child. He knows what it means to have a terrible holiday season, and this year he wants to use his son’s memory as inspiration to make a better Christmas for struggling families in Alberta.

“He is 90 per cent of the reason I’m doing this because I’ve lost a lot. I’ve lost my son,” Garratt says. “As a father, I could not imagine waking up and stressing about how are we going to get dinner or if we can only afford one gift... being a father and being someone who lost a child, I just want to give back.”

Garratt made a post on a Facebook page called Wexit British Columbia about his idea to help families in Alberta and has seen a strong response of support. A Langley-based trucking company Pacific Coast Distribution Limited has offered to lend Garratt a truck and 53-foot trailer to fill with donations and take along to Alberta. Garratt will be collecting toys, clothing, and gift cards, as well as cash donations through a GoFundMe page. He hopes to fill up the trailer and get on the road on Dec. 15, and plans to hand out the donations somewhere in Calgary.

Garratt says he has strong ties to our neighbouring province and wants to help support people who may be facing hard financial times.

“I was brought up that if you can help people, to help anybody else that you can,” Garratt says. “I know all of Canada is going through a huge struggle right now, but I’m starting to see more and more of it in Alberta... for me, Alberta holds a place in my heart because I have friends out there. I have one friend who had to turn the keys to his house over to the bank, so for me, it would be the biggest thing in the world to make this happen and to help.”

Garratt notices that there is work to be done within our own communities, but wants to show the strong ties Canadians have with one another, despite provincial boundaries or political disagreements.

“I know there's a lot of hostility between Alberta and B.C. with the pipelines and all that…. I want Alberta to see that not everybody in B.C. is against them. I want them to see that we've got the community in B.C. that would help and stand with them to show them they’re not alone,” Garratt says. “I was always taught that Canadians were always the nicest people in the world. Let’s put that to use, let's actually prove it."

Garratt took to a Facebook page to share his idea and says he has seen an
Garratt took to a Facebook page to share his idea and says he has seen an "overwhelming' response.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Mike Garratt

Not only is Garratt looking for physical donations, but he is also looking for people who are willing to join in on the drive to show Albertans that British Columbians care for them. He says four people have already agreed to join in, bringing their own trucks and creating a convoy.

U-Haul in Kamloops has donated a storage unit to Garratt's cause. You can drop off the items to the U-Haul general manager at 720 Halston Ave., and mention the donation is for storage locker 1096. You can also donate items directly to Garratt, and set up a drop-off time by calling him at 250-852-8342.

For those in the Vancouver area who want to donate, you can visit Pacific Coastal Distribution Limited at 27433 52 Avenue in Langley.

— This story was updated at 3:54 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, to add an additional drop-off location.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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