The Child Cancer Foundation has apologised for dumping several bin bags full of soft toys that Ulysses Club members had collected at its long-running Toy Run event.
Child Cancer Foundation business development and fundraising manager for the Waikato, Sharon Robertson, sent the apology via email on Sunday after Waikato branch club members told the Waikato Times they were shocked at the discovery.
"We are terribly sorry that this whole event has occurred," she said in the email. "I thought it best not to leave it to fester with your members and also felt they deserved the respect of an immediate explanation.
"This whole incident has come about through unfortunate circumstances."
She said Foundation volunteers had emptied a lockup of old toys after the last Toy Run, on March 2, because it was on temporary loan.
‘The volunteers checked the toys in this lock up and many were packed with moth balls and were dirty," she wrote.
"The clean toys were removed from this lock up and put in with the 2014 toys and the rest were put into clean sacks and taken to the Sunshine Avenue Refuse Centre for disposal."
The dumped toys were discovered by a third party, unpacked and distributed among other children.
"The Child Cancer Foundation would never knowingly do anything to harm or damage the relationship we have with the Waikato Ulysses Club or the Ulysses Club reputation in the community.
"Your organisation is held in such high esteem throughout our whole foundation nationwide," Robertson wrote.
She said the Toy Run was one of their top events because of the "beautiful concept, and the love our children and their families have for this event".
It has now been running for 29 years.
"It is something very special and must continue but as we all know, we have to relook at the toy collection aspect of the event."
Waikato Ulysses Club member Jim Galt, who is also national secretary of the organisation, said: "What happens to them [the toys] is the responsibility of the cancer foundation. In the future I think they might be asked to hand them back to us. That would give us an option to give them to the Salvation Army thrift shop or something like that."
- Waikato Times