From left, Jennifer Roos, Bowling Green State University women’s basketball coach, and assistant coaches Jesse Fleming and Sahar Nusseibeh sort toys at WTVG-TV’s station headquarters.
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
One in a series
Brighten someone else’s holiday season by picking the perfect present for a child in need.
Area toy drives organized by businesses, churches, and nonprofit groups give donors a chance to buy a gift for someone whose stocking might otherwise go unstuffed.
PHOTO GALLERY: Toy drive donation
There’s still time to donate to area toy drive efforts. Drop everything from basketballs and board games to winter coats and dolls in donation boxes that are dotting the region.
The Noel Project, a toy drive organized by the Church on Strayer, has made Christmas merry for area children for more than 30 years. The toy drive culminates in a Dec. 21 Christmas party at the SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo.
Groups are collecting toys this holiday season to distribute to needy families. Among them:
The Noel Project: Donate new, $10 toys and winter coats in all sizes until Dec. 15 at Huntington Bank locations in Lucas County, or until Dec. 20 at the Church on Strayer, 3000 Strayer Rd., Maumee, and the Church on 53, 1105 County Road 41, Fremont.
Lucas County Children Services: Donate new toys and gift cards through Dec. 17. Collection sites include: Allshred Services, 3940 Technology Dr., Maumee; Banner Mattress and Furniture in Bowling Green, Perrysburg, Oregon, and Toledo; The Blade, 541 N. Superior St.; Woodcraft, 5311 Airport Hwy.; Yark Automotive Group sites in Toledo and Whitehouse, and Toledo-area Burger King restaurants, Family Video, and Kroger stores.
Hope for the Holidays: Donate toys to a drive organized by WTVG-TV, Channel 13, by dropping items off through Dec. 20 at sites including 13 ABC studio, 4247 Dorr St.; Hylant Group, 811 Madison Ave.; Salvation Army, 620 N. Erie St.; Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault and Schaffer Co., 3516 Granite Circle; Dave White Chevrolet, 5880 Monroe St., Sylvania; Dave White Acura, 5868 Monroe St., Sylvania; Jim White Toyota, 6123 W. Central Ave., and many Vito’s Pizza locations.
Salvation Army Port Clinton Service Unit: Donate new toys at about 60 collection sites in Ottawa County, including many grocery stores and hair salons, until Dec. 13. Drop off toys until Dec. 24 at the Salvation Army, 1854 E. Perry St., Port Clinton.
Christmas Dreams program: Thayer Family Dealerships will collect toys to distribute to Wood County families at its Bowling Green dealership locations through Dec. 16.
About 1,300 children from 500 families receive gifts after registering to participate through a partnership with the United Way of Greater Toledo, said the project’s director, Jesse Marroquin.
“It is really the best gift to give away ... to see the faces on the kids,” Mr. Marroquin said.
New, unwrapped $10 toys and winter coats, gloves, and hats are among donations sought. Popular items include basketballs and games.
Lucas County Children Services collects toys and presents to give to youngsters of all ages it serves. Last year, the agency helped about 1,200 children.
Younger children typically receive about three toys each, while teens often receive a gift card so they can choose their own gift, spokesman Julie Malkin said.
About a third of the children the agency serves are newborns up to children 3 years old. Gifts for that age group, including items to care for them such as umbrella strollers and baby bathtubs, are particularly needed, as well as bicycle helmets for children of all ages.
From 1 to 3 p.m. today, Allshred Services will shred up to five bags of documents for those who donate a new toy for the children services drive. The event takes place at Burger King, 4870 Monroe St.
The Hope for the Holidays toy drive organized by WTVG-TV, Channel 13, is in its third year. The effort collected about 18,000 toys last year. This year, it will accept toys at various drop-off sites throughout the area until Dec. 20.
Toys are distributed through the Salvation Army Northwest Ohio Area Services.
In Ottawa County, the Salvation Army Port Clinton Service Unit is collecting new and unwrapped toys, specifically in the $25 to $30 range, to distribute to children countywide in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program and the Ottawa County Holiday Bureau.
Nearly 1,600 children received toys through the program last year, Salvation Army Director Maureen Saponari said. Gifts for those ages 12 and older are especially needed, and she suggested items such as a cologne kit or hair accessories.
Each family also receives a board game.
The bulk of the gifts are distributed to families Dec. 18. Parents often react with relief when they see how the community has helped provide for their families, she said.
“It’s truly amazing. It’s very heartwarming on my end,” Ms. Saponari said. “I get to see the faces. I get to see what the donations do.”
Bowling Green-based Thayer Family Dealerships are again organizing a Christmas Dreams program, which provides holiday gifts for more than 200 children in Wood County.
Coordinator Barb Tansel said each child is given an alias, and donors can “adopt” a child and shop for items based on their age and gender. Money and toys also can be dropped off at the dealership’s locations.
The gifts, along with wrapping paper and tape, are delivered to families before Christmas.
This year’s Toys for Tots collection campaign in Williams, Lucas, Fulton, Ottawa, and Henry counties wrapped up earlier this month, and toys will be distributed through the Salvation Army on Dec. 18, said Sgt. Brett Brice of the Perrysburg Township-based Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines.
Last year, more than 19,000 toys from the five counties were given to 8,484 children, and this year’s drive is expected to result in similar numbers, Sergeant Brice said.