BARRIE, ONT. -- A cheque cut by one of Canada's biggest toy stores is going a long way to help kids in need with just days to go until the holiday season.

Scarborough-based Mastermind Toys donated $5,000 to help build this year's Toy Mountain.

On Thursday, volunteers with Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions safely turned donations into toys, ensuring children and teens across Simcoe County have a happy holiday.

"We have wish lists from kids that we're trying to fulfill," says Melanie McLearon with Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions. "So I came with a list, and that's what I was doing here today at Mastermind."

This year's campaign was anything but ordinary after COVID-19 cancelled many in-person toy drop-offs, so building a toy mountain in 2020 relied heavily on online donations, which McLearon says had everyone worried.

"Many of us were concerned what that was going to look like, and it blew us away - really is how we ended up feeling at the end of this, that we've had enough for the demand this year," she says.

The pandemic pushed the demand to more than 2,000 kids this holiday season, increasing from last year's Toy Mountain, which helped about 1,500 youngsters.

With the community's donations and support, toys now fill the Family Connexions toy warehouse.

And while the official Toy Mountain campaign may be over, Jodie Farrell-James with Family Connexions says the work is far from over as volunteers still have more than 100 hampers to pack before Christmas.

"We are now in stages of having some toys quarantining and then building with this that have already quarantined. So yes, we're busy," says Farrell-James, who adds donations are still coming through the doors.

"We still have people calling asking, 'are you still accepting donations?' and of course, we are at this point, and it's just kinda overwhelming," she says.

"It's amazing to see the community coming together like this."