Annual toy drive kicks off, this year those in need can ‘shop’ for kids

The Kiwanis Club’s toy drive is under way for this holiday season, and Islanders are invited to participate, both those who are able to give and those who would benefit from a helping hand.

Organizers plan to have enough toys, clothes and other gift items to provide three gifts each to 225 children, from infants to age 18 and in school. Instead of families and others making requests this year, however, adults will be invited to “shop” at the toy drive’s free Christmas store.

Donation bins are out in several businesses in town: Island Home Center & Lumber, True Value, Vashon Thriftway, IGA Market Fresh, the Chamber of Commerce, Vashon Pharmacy and the Eagles. Gifts will be accepted through Friday, Dec. 14. Toys, games, all sizes of clothing and personal care items are needed, according to organizers. “Anything kids would love to unwrap on Christmas morning,” said Jan Lyell, who is coordinating the event with Sigrid Thomas and Jan Smith.

Over the years, Lyell said, the number of families participating has gone up, and financial contributions for the drive have gone down. This trend is partially responsible for the change in format this year, from — in years past — families requesting items to now shopping at a free store. Organizers believe, though, the store will be a change for the better.

“This will give the parents an opportunity to pick out things they think their kids will like,” Lyell said.

Sponsoring partners this year are Skanska and the Vashon Eagles.


Kiwanis toy drive holiday store

The store will be open for adults only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, at the former Island Variety at Vashon Plaza. From 1 to 4 p.m. both days, families may drop off their children at the Eagles, where there will be activities and adult supervision.

For more information about the drive, contact Jan Lyell at 229-8085 or Joyce Smith at 372-5030.



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