Photo: (L to R) Rick Francoeur, 360 Collision Centres; Nicole-Ann Poitras, Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau; MP Brad Vis and children making a donation to the toy drive; Daryl Francoeur, 360 Collision Centres
When news that the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, the organization which brings holiday toys to thousands of underprivileged children annually, was in need of an emergency toy drive to support communities affected by the devastating flooding across British Columbia including Abbotsford, Agassiz, Mission, Chilliwack, Merritt, and Hope, the 360 Group of Companies didn’t hesitate to step up for this important cause.
“After such an incredibly difficult year for so many in Canada, to think that any child in British Columbia would wake up without any presents on Christmas was simply not an option,” said 360 Group of Companies (360 Collision Centres, 360 Fabrication and 360 Car and Marine Audio) President Rick Francoeur. “We knew that with the support of our customers, our suppliers and the community we could pull off a toy drive that would refill Santa’s sack so that every child had a gift this holiday season.”
“When we began receiving calls from our partners in communities affected by the recent flooding for logistical and other supports,” said Christmas Bureau Executive Director Chris Bayliss. “Of course, we responded with a commitment to ensure that no child goes without a toy under the tree this Christmas.” Bayliss continued, ”We spoke with the team at 360 Collision Centres and they said we could absolutely count on them. They began the planning and outreach and the response from their team, their customers, their suppliers and people throughout the region was overwhelming. We even had companies across Canada reach out after hearing about the event through the 360 Fabrication social media channels and donations of pallets of toys and sporting goods were sent to toy bureaus in need across the province. It was unbelievable.”
360 Collision Centres donated 40 bicycles to kick off the toy drive, Rick and his brother and co-owner Daryl Francoeur purchasing 20 bicycles and their staff team purchasing another 20. “We wanted to start the event with a strong donation from our company and felt that getting a bicycle under the tree was a great gift for young people. We worked with Canadian Tire here in Abbotsford to ensure that we had many different sizes so that older children also got something special this year,” said Rick Francoeur.
The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB) works with up to 40 other bureaus and agencies across B.C. each year, providing material support, and shipping more than 100,000 items to them for their holiday programs, as well as acting as the Christmas bureau for Vancouver residents, where they assist an average of 1,000 families annually. The Bureau also distributes over $70,000-worth of supermarket gift cards to those families.
360 also continued with their commitment to the Crystal Gala Foundation in 2021, with their donation total topping $76,000 in the past two years to aid in the fight against breast cancer. “The Crystal Gala Foundation does incredible work here in the Fraser Valley helping purchase much-needed equipment for the Abbotsford Centre for Breast Health,” said Francoeur. “This is a charity that does so much for our community and one that we have committed to raising
$100,000 for within five years. We are well on our way to achieving that goal.”