Grimsby triples food donations at Santa Claus reverse parade

Santa Claus reverse parade Santa static sleigh in downtown Grimsby

The G in Grimsby might stand for “generous” if the donations at the food drive this year’s Santa Claus reverse parade is any measure.

At the town’s reverse parade and Holiday of Hope event, which replaced the traditional annual rolling parade, food donations tripled over last year’s parade food drive.

Grimsby’s Recreation Supervisor Trevor Ruzylo said, “We had an incredible response for the event overall.” He said 550 boxes of food were donated. Reverse parade visitors also gave $4,500 in cash and gift card donations.

There were an estimated 1,500 vehicles that drove part or all of the reverse parade route that included 10 static floats across town, including a stop on the downtown strip where Santa Claus, on his static sleigh, waved and chatted to reverse parade revellers that drove through the town’s high street.

The strip was full of Grimsby firefighters collecting food and cash from drive-by residents. They also collected food at the Peach King Centre. As many as 25 firefighters volunteered their time, said Steve Allingham of the Grimsby Firefighter’s Association. “Our local firefighters worked extremely hard to make this food drive happen,” said Ruzylo.

Town manager Harry Schlange was effusive about the effort: “Thanks to Trevor our Parks and Rec team as well as our volunteer firefighters, it was a huge success.”

Ruzylo said he really appreciated the effort that all the local businesses and community organizations and volunteers put in to make the event a success. “I was just blown away,” he said, “by the food and cash donations too.”

Next year Ruzylo said, pandemic-allowing, the parade will return to its old format. But the drive-thru format was very popular.

“There were so many comments that it was nice to see all corners of the community instead of just seeing the regular parade downtown. I think we might bring it back for some other event or somehow work it in as part of the holiday event in the future,” he said.