Memories of Christmas past

A Prince Albert business owner is looking to spread some Christmas cheer with a community-wide toy drive. -- Stock photo.

Lorenzo Janvier has never forgotten how difficult Christmas was when he was a kid, but now he’s using that experience to make sure it doesn’t happen to others.

Janvier, the owner and founder of Off the Grid Apparel, officially began his inaugural Christmas toy drive on Nov. 28. Although he’s a business owner now, Janvier hasn’t forgotten his roots and he’s hoping Prince Albert residents will join him in helping out.

“Growing up with a single mother, I know how it feels for some families during the Christmas season,” he said. “Sometimes it was rough for my mom and I see that now with friends of mine and extended family. I thought, ‘why not do something to give back to the community and help the less fortunate?’”

For the next few weeks, Janvier and a few partners will be travelling around Prince Albert picking up toy donations. He’s hoping to have a truck full of them by Dec. 20 at the latest so he can drop them off at the Prince Albert YWCA. From there, the toys will be handed out to needy families in time for Christmas.

“The economy right now in Prince Albert is not the best. I know I’ve got friends myself that I work with and they’re struggling right now,” Janvier explained. “I don’t want to point fingers or anything, but I see a lot of that. I was always taught to help others out any way I can and this is my way of helping people out.”

The first donations began coming in almost right away. Tots Treasure Trunk in the Gateway Mall has agreed to host a drop-off location for residents who are out and about. Those who can’t get to Gateway Mall can phone 306-314-7204, or arrange for a pickup by messaging Off the Grid Apparel’s Facebook page. Donations can be picked up between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Janvier said he’s not looking for a Christmas miracle. He just wants residents who have plenty of Christmas cheer to be mindful those who don’t.

“It’s pretty much whatever people can give right now,” he said.