People of all ages and businesses of all sizes from all across KwaZulu-Natal have taken time out over the past three weeks to help make a difference in the lives of the province’s ill and destitute children. New toys and donations have been pouring in to East Coast Radio’s Toy Story with Game with the station’s foyer transformed into a toy wonderland. Collection of new toys is also underway at Game stores across the province.
“This is such an amazing initiative,” says East Coast Radio presenter, Damon Beard. “It so rewarding to see little faces light up when we visit hospitals. You know, for many of the children, this isn’t just the first new toy they will own, but the first new thing they will own.”
On Saturday (19 November 2016), the East Coast Radio parking lot resembled a VW showroom, as members of the VW Illest Owners Club arrived in convoy to drop off bags of toys. Club members from in and around Durban arrived in more than 20 cars for the handover. “It’s our way of giving back to the community,” says the club’s event coordinator, Yashvir Lowtan. “We always support various initiatives and we are always happy to make a meaningful contribution.”
Behind the scenes, the East Coast Radio’s Toy Story with Game team is working around-the-clock to pack the new toys. Already the team has visited Stanger Provincial Hospital, Osindisweni Hospital and Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, ensuring that every child received a present from the people of KZN.
This week (Wednesday, 23 November 2016), presenter Jane Linley-Thomas will travel with the team to the South Coast, to bring a smile to the faces of little ones in GJ Crookes Hospital, Port Shepstone Hospital and Murchison Hospital.
The Red Cross Air Mercy Service will take new toys to areas that are inaccessible to the on-the-ground team.
One of KZN’s longest-running CSI initiatives, East Coast Radio’s Toy Story with Game is now in its 16th year. This year, every cent of the funds donated to the campaign will be channelled into the Game AmaLunchbox project that is aimed at feeding children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This project was launched in 2008 to curb the detrimental effects of hunger on the educational development of children – hungry children cannot concentrate on schoolwork. The AmaLunchbox project provides disadvantaged schools nationwide with the facilities to allow them to prepare nutritious meals in hygienic conditions.
The campaign’s Toy Story Corporate Day initiative takes place at The Pavilion shopping centre on 2 December 2016. Celebrities and sports stars will be joining the East Coast Radio team for a marathon 12-hour live broadcast and telethon. Businesses and individuals will be able to pledge funds towards the campaign as well as challenge each other on-air.