While some hit the stores early on Boxing Day in search of the best post-Christmas deals and steals, Brenda Mulder braved the crowds to benefit others.
Every Dec. 26, for nearly a decade, Mulder has risen early enough to make it to the stores by 7 a.m. to purchase as many toys as she can. Since they’re usually discounted, she says she is able to purchase hundreds, which she takes to Mexico in January to give out to children in need.
Mulder said she was inspired to to start up the collection after a neighbour she met in San Jose Del Cabo in 2011 approached her about helping out some families in need in one of the “barrios” (re: neighbourhoods) where “too many” people were struggling.
Touched by the woman’s story, Mulder and her husband decided to take up a collection and later delivered the items themselves. Struck by the “immense poverty” in the area, the Vernon couple decided to expand their efforts and started a charity, Santa’s Cabo Kids,which Mulder describes as “a group of Canadians and Americans who have joined forces to help families in need.”
“After hurricane (in 2014) the need was so great,” Mulder explained. “Some of the people we met are making maybe $6 a day, so there’s not much room to support a family, much less buy toys at Christmas, so we decided to take care of that.”
Since its inception, the group has built homes for the families, and continues to raise money through fundraisers that support schools and soup kitchens, as well as provide toys at Christmas.
The group currently has approximately 1000 followers on their Facebook page and more than 60 volunteers who travel to Mexico with the Mulders to give out toys every winter after Christmas.
Mulder says no matter how challenging the conditions on Dec.26 are, whether it’s weather or crowds, it’s always worth it to see kids have toys for Christmas.
“They are ecstatic,” she said Tuesday morning while hunting for bargains at London Drugs in Vernon — her second stop of the day.
“They have the biggest smiles on their faces. They just absolutely love it. I mean, that’s why we do this.”
She says the group will continue each year as long as help is needed. To learn more about Santa’s Cabo Kids visit the group on Facebook.