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'Toy Tank' makes first delivery to GTA children amid COVID-19 closures
TORONTO -- A trailer full of toys is making the rounds delivering gifts to children in the Greater Toronto Area who are forced to stay at home during school and daycare closures.
Starting Sunday, the Chai Lifeline Canada Toy Tank is dropping off toys, games and crafts to dozens of families' doors twice a week, in hopes of helping children cope with feelings of isolation or boredom due to social distancing and school closures.
"Stay inside and we will bring the fun to your front door," Mordechai Rothman, Executive Director of Chai Lifeline Canada, said. For the past 13 years, the non-profit organization has helped support children affected by life-threatening or life-long illness. Now, they’re extending their reach to include all children.
"Due to the restrictions placed upon us all by COVID-19, everyone is now affected by life-threatening illness, so we extend our support to everyone," Rothman said. "We hope that it will keep families healthy and safe."
The Toy Tank made its very first delivery Sunday to twelve-year-old Chaim Zelunka's family in Thornhill. He was born with Wiedemann-Steiner syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental cognitive delay.
Chaim, his twin sister Tehila, and eight-year-old brother Naftali all received toys from the toy tank.
"It's just really heartwarming to know there's an organization who cares," their mother Rachel Zelunka, who also works with Chai Lifeline, said.
Families can sign up to be a recipient of the Toy Tank on their website. The donation of new toys can be made to the Chai Lifeline offices at 300 Wilson Avenue, Toronto, or online via their Amazon Wish List.
The Toy Tank will be on the road visiting neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area on Tuesdays and Fridays until May 1. Additional dates are expected to be announced.