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A library of toys: South Shore organization brings cheer to families in need

A local organization in Saint-Hubert on Montreal's South Shore says it wants to bring joy to families who may not have a lot of money to buy gifts over the holidays.

Joujouthèque de Saint-Hubert is a library-style centre where people can rent games and toys -- with more than 5,000 items to choose from.

"Our medium-term goal is to help families in need, especially financially," said Caroline Michaud, volunteer and vice president of the centre's board of directors. "We also have services to help newcomers and schools."

Anyone wanting to participate in the program will have to sign up for a yearly membership.

After that, they can take home a selection of toys for up to a month, but there's no limit to how often a family can visit the centre.

Memberships start at $45 for three toys and three puzzles, puppets and books. There is also a $65 and $75 option.

Joujouthèque de Saint-Hubert has been open for the last 30 years; as an autonomous organization, Michaud points out it does not receive any government subventions.

That's why, with the holiday season almost upon us, she wants to remind anyone thinking of donating to consider small, local groups and not just "big box" organizations.

"It allows us to survive and expand our services," she tells CTV News. "We have so many ideas, but no money. We're not here to make money. We're here to survive and offer our services to our members."

For anyone looking to donate, Michaud stresses people often forget about older kids.

"Big kid toys, we always have less of. For ages 10 and up," she said. "Those toys are usually more expensive, Lego, they want Playmobil, even books, board games and puzzles."

Whenever there is an abundance of certain items, such as plush toys, the centre says it donates them to daycares and schools.

"When we have a surplus, we do a big sweep and send the toys to daycares or families who have had a tragedy; we give a lot to newcomers," said Michaud. "We have lots of ideas, but not a lot of space."

In addition to its toy library services, Joujouthèque also rents out party equipment and has a sales room where people can purchase second-hand toys.

The money collected goes back into the centre's various services.

"All the toys are tested, washed and complete," said Michaud. "If you buy a farm, it comes with all the animals. That way, the person who buys it doesn't have to buy all the pieces that come with it."

Michaud says the long-term goal is to continue expanding to offer bigger and better services to the Montreal South Shore community.

Joujouthèque says it is currently gearing up to partner with other local organizations in Longueuil to build gift baskets and collect donations for families in need over the holidays. Top Stories

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