A shiny red hot rod is collecting toy donations across the Foothills.

The Christmas Charity Truck is the invention of Leslie and Larry Stadnick, who own The Stash Luxury Garages north of Okotoks.

The truck itself is a '35 Ford kit truck, painted "Santa Red," and it'll be collecting toy and cash donations for local children's charities.

According to their website, their goal is "to gift a million Christmas Smiles."

Leslie says acquiring parts and building the truck was very much a collaborative process.

"We had this truck, it was in pieces, so we got together with a bunch of the Stash owners, other friends and family, neighbours in the community, and people donated parts or funds towards parts, and we've built this truck now... It was pretty casual, although once we had the deadline for Light Up Okotoks there was a bit of a push there."

The truck made its public debut at Light Up Okotoks, and while it had to be trailered to the event since it wasn't running just yet, Leslie says it was a big hit.

"The reaction from the crowd was great. The kids love it, the adults love the idea of it. We raised quite a few dollars in funds toward toys and the back of the truck was filled with toys by the end of the night."

Charity Truck Light Up OkotoksPhoto courtesy of Leslie Stadnick.

The truck will also be making appearances at High River's Santa Claus Parade on Dec. 1, the CPKC Holiday Train's stop in Okotoks on Dec. 11, and a few private events.

It'll also be on location to accept donations at Shaw GMC Chevrolet Buick on 4620 Blackfoot Trail SE from Dec. 2-8.

While it's not uncommon to feel a little nervous when launching a project like this, Leslie says they had no doubt the community would be enthusiastic about the idea.

"We knew that the community and surrounding areas are very generous and always seem to want to help out so it really wasn't anything we were concerned about as far as not catching on."

Recipients of the donations will include the Rowan House Society, MyCityCare Okotoks' Shop of Wonders, and Children's Cottage in Calgary, though Leslie is keeping an eye out for others.

The reception has been so warm that the Stadnicks are already considering the possibility of bringing it back annually.

"Originally, our thought was we'd just do it for a season or two and then auction the truck off for charity but we're having so much fun with this project that I think we're going to carry on for a few years."

On top of on-location events, donors can arrange a dropoff by contacting thestashgarages@gmail.com monetary donations can also be sent to christmascharitytruck@gmail.com

More information can be found on the Christmas Charity Truck website.

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