October 20, 2022

Elks and Santas Anonymous team up for toy drive

He’s got the hat. The suit. The beard.

But that’s not what make Dan Cuthbert a good Santa Claus.

It’s what inside the matters.

“I love to give, I care about my fellow Edmontonians,” Cuthbert says. “It sounds kind of phony, but it sort of comes naturally to me. it’s just me trying to be a better person.

“And I believe in Christmas, I always have. Santa can be a figure, but it can also just be a spirit and a feeling.”

Cuthbert will don his Santa suit and hat to bring good tidings at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday evening when the Edmonton Elks host the B.C. Lions in the Green and Gold’s final game of the 2022 season.

As part of Friday’s festivities, the Elks are teaming up with 630 Ched Santas Anonymous for the annual Toys on the Turf donation drive. New unwrapped toys and monetary donations for Santas Anonymous are being accepted at the gates, which open at 6:45 p.m., an hour before kickoff.

Relying on thousands of volunteers like Cuthbert and donors like Elks fans, 630 CHED Santas Anonymous collects, sorts, packages, and delivers toys to over 20,000 children every year.

“It’s all about love,” Cuthbert says. “It’s love for the community; it’s love for the community members. We want to provide Christmas to children that might not get Christmas if it wasn’t for charities like Santas Anonymous.”

For the better part of 25 years, Cuthbert has volunteered with 630 CHED Santas Anonymous. He started by delivering presents in 1998, shortly after he moved to Edmonton from his native Winnipeg.

Cuthbert was drawn to Santas Anonymous when he heard “A Creature was Stirring”, which airs each year during the holiday season on 630 CHED. The emotional piece, read by Santas Anonymous founder and Edmonton broadcasting icon and philanthropist Jerry Forbes, tells the story of a young man delivering toys for Santa Anonymous.

“If I’m driving in the car and it comes on, I have to pull over,” says Cuthbert. “That’s a tear-jerker.”

Friday’s game holds particularly special meaning for Cuthbert, as the Elks will be commemorating Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation. Cuthbert served in the Military, Air Force, and Navy, and now works with Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services.

“The Military has always had a strong involvement with Santas Anonymous, and as Santa, I just want to salute the Military and tell them, ‘Thank you,’” Cuthbert says.

Tickets to Friday’s Elks game are available through Ticketmaster. Visit the 630 CHED Santa Anonymous website for more information.