‘He would have been ec­static’

Mem­ory of Cen­tre­ville boy Ja­cob Stern lives on through toy drive in sup­port of Sal­va­tion Army


The mem­ory of a Cen­tre­ville boy who touched the hearts of count­less peo­ple through his brave bat­tle against can­cer is be­ing hon­oured again this year with a toy drive named af­ter him.

Four-year-old Ja­cob Stern passed away in Oc­to­ber 2016 af­ter a coura­geous fight against a rare form of mus­cle can­cer, rhab­domyosar­coma. He was only 15 months old when he was di­ag­nosed.

Judy Ben­jamin, Ja­cob’s grand­mother, said he was a “real trooper” con­sid­er­ing ev­ery­thing that he went through. The fam­ily now holds an an­nual toy drive to give back to the com­mu­nity that helped them so much dur­ing his or­deal. They want to help en­sure that chil­dren from less for­tu­nate fam­i­lies have smiles on their faces on Christ­mas morn­ing.

This year’s toy drive takes place at Wal­mart in New Mi­nas on Dec. 1 from 1-5 p.m. Drop off lo­ca­tions in­clude 415 Stead St., Kentville; RE/MAX Ad­van­tage, 17 Web­ster Ct., Kentville, and Forbes Kia, 5488 Prospect Rd., New Mi­nas.

Ben­jamin said Ja­cob would have loved the toy drive and he would have loved know­ing that, be­cause of him, there will be many more boys and girls with gifts un­der the tree to un­wrap. Af­ter all, he loved Christ­mas and the var­i­ous toys and gifts that he re­ceived from so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

“I think he would have been ec­static,” Ben­jamin said. “I’m pos­i­tive that he’s go­ing to be with us that day.”

All pro­ceeds go to­ward sup­port­ing the Sal­va­tion Army in its ef­fort to pro­vide toys to kids in need at Christ­mas time. The Sal­va­tion Army and other area churches work to­gether to­ward this goal, last year pro­vid­ing gifts to 621 chil­dren.

Ben­jamin said the toy drive is a way for them to pay for­ward the sup­port the Sal­va­tion Army pro­vided to Melissa Ben­jamin, Ja­cob’s mom, while Ja­cob was bat­tling can­cer.

Ben­jamin said peo­ple can sup­port the toy drive by pur­chas­ing toys and drop­ping them off or by mak­ing cash dona­tions. She said they’ve al­ready raised about $780 through the sale of prize cal­en­dars and they’ll be sell­ing 50-50 tick­ets on the day of the toy drive with the draw be­ing held at the end.


Ja­cob Stern’s sis­ter, Mad­die Stern, and his mom, Melissa Ben­jamin, show off a shop­ping cart loaded with toys do­nated last year as part of a toy drive held in Ja­cob’s mem­ory.

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