It started out as a women’s group’s holiday tea party to collect toys for underprivileged children in one Canadian city almost 20 years ago … by next year it will be known as 1000 Holiday Toy Teas Around the
“The Toy Tea has been an unequivocal joy for me,” says chair Ginger Petty. Petty’s joy has meant children living in nearly 30 battered women’s shelters across Montreal receive a new, non-violent toy at Christmas.
“I had discovered many children of battered women in shelters were receiving second-hand, repaired, dirty toys for the holidays,” said Petty. “A second-hand toy makes a child feel like a second-hand person. This was a need to be filled in our community by our community.”
And fill it she did. Invitations now go out to more than 5500 women in the Montreal area who happily add an extra toy to their holiday shopping list. They bring the toy to a gathering at Ogilvys. Last year 10 000 toys were collected. Petty personally attends as many holiday parties as possible during the month of December to ensure proper distribution to the children.
Each toy which passes thru The Toy Tea has a tie-on or sticky label attached to it that says “This gift has been given to you by the women and children of Montreal because we love and care about you”.
Now the Tea is going global. Petty has asked the women of Montreal to reach out to friends and family outside the city, and suggest they hold a tea in their community.
“In one week this idea is going like gangbusters…..we have 45 cities already!” said Petty.
A website will be set up shortly to assist women in other cities with the organization of their own tea next year.