Santa Claus airplane trip from Victoria lands in Chilliwack – Vancouver Island Free Every day

The first planeload of toys landed at Chilliwack Airport on Tuesday to brighten up the season for local families.

Victoria lawyer John-Andrew Pankiw-Petty started the “Santa Flight Toy Drive for Chilliwack” a few weeks ago after he was forced to help after a flood disaster.

“When we found out that some people were just trying to protect their livestock and their families, and that Christmas was the last thing they thought about, we knew we had to try to help,” he said.

Toys, gifts and clothing were collected at the Victoria Flying Club to be flown to Chilliwack on a series of “Santa” flights flown by volunteers after contacting Chilliwack Community Services (CCS) for set them up.

Shirley Triemstra, CCS fundraising coordinator, said she had become Pankiw-Petty’s contact in Chilliwack and was totally overwhelmed with the effort he had launched.

“He was just a guy who wanted to help. I’ve been here for five years and no one has ever flown in Christmas presents for children, ”said Triemstra.

Volunteer pilots and members of the 700-member Victoria Flying Club, as well as community donors from across Vancouver Island and Vancouver, contributed to the gifts and donations totaling $ 3,000.

The gifts and toys will be shared with the Yarrow Food Hub and Abbotsford Community Services and CCS, Triemstra added.

RELATED: VIDEO: Reindeers Take a Break, Santa Helicopters Visit Vancouver Island

The first Santa flight to arrive in Chilliwack on December 14th was thanks to pilot Ryan Enns, who flew it in his two-seat kit plane from Victoria to deliver the first small batch of donated gifts.

“We have toys, toiletries, gift cards valued at around US $ 350, hats, children’s clothing, baby clothes, stuffed animals, and a giant mermaid blanket,” said Pankiw-Petty, listing the donations.

CCS officers were at the airport to greet the Santa flight pilots, including Triemstra, CCS managing director Diane Janzen and executive assistant Julie Nickel.

Flying Club called for toys and donated a flight to transport all of the gifts to Chilliwack. This sparked a flow of generosity from the larger community.

“People on Vancouver Island really felt connected to this project,” said Pankiw-Petty. “We are all a province. Everyone over there has the feeling that they are going through it too, although we are not. “

Many wanted to help.

“We can’t imagine what it’s like to go through what you’re going through out here. So when we asked people for help, the response was incredible, from law firms and corporations downtown to the Victoria Flying Club to pilots. “

“People from the neighborhood showed up at our house with toys and gifts, so everything was pretty special.”

Contributions came from the Victoria Flying Club, JPL Litigation, Sean Finn and staff at Jones Emery Hargraves Swan LLP, Digital Direct Printing, Garside Signs and Pacific Sky Aviation.

A second flight is supposed to bring the remaining gifts and donations, but when that will be was not known at the time of going to press.

RELATED: Victoria Flying Club is celebrating 75th anniversary this weekend

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BC Floods 2021City of ChilliwackGames and ToysGreater VictoriaVictoria

Results of the Santa Flight Toy Drive for Chilliwack saved at the Victoria Flying Club. (JA Pankiw-Petty photo)

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