The Marysville Toy Store provided gifts to local families last week to ensure every child wakes up on Christmas with support from their community.
The annual Toy Store opened up on Dec. 11 and 12 this year for families in need of presents for the holiday season.
More than 1,300 children were registered as needing toys this year.
“That’s well over what we had last year which was closer to 1,100,” said Christie Veley, one of the main organizers of this year’s event and the Marysville Fire District’s public information and education specialist.
“People were lined up when I got in here this morning at 11:30 a.m.,” she said.
Parents register through the Marysville Community Food Bank or from a local school counselor and come to the Grove Church to pick out a variety of items for their kids.
Each child receives a coat, a stuffed animal, one or two toys, two stocking stuffers, two used books and two new books.
Every family also got a role of wrapping paper this year thanks to the Liberty Elementary PTA.
“It’s important for us to have enough gifts so that every parent can pick what they want,” said Veley.
“So we’re not just giving them something and saying ‘this is what you're going to get,’ but that they can choose it,” she said.
Clients at the Marysville Toy Store said they were happy the service was available.
“I think the Toy Store is very helpful this time of year and it just really brings the community together,” said local parent Aushanique Coleman.
“It’s awesome, I love it. I have four kids and my husband works so it just gets hard this time of year and this is just so helpful and they have a lot of great presents,” said local parent Gabby Arjon.
The volunteers helping the Toy Store begin collecting donations of toys in conjunction with the All-City Marysville Food Drive.
“We had a lot of support from the community again this year,” said Veley.
Although, toy donations were slow at first, she said. “There was a point where I said donations were down a couple weeks ago and some organizations really came through.”
Marysville Goodwill and the local Keller Williams real estate office helped with a toy drive and monetary donations, said Veley.
“We were able to give a lot of skateboards, which was a lot of fun because teens are always a group that we don’t get a lot of donations for, I’m guessing because teens are just harder to shop for,” said Veley.
The Toy Store often has to provide gift cards for teenagers because they are the trickiest to find gifts for, she said.
The event is run entirely by volunteers, and Veley said it is a fulfilling event to help with.
“It’s such a happy event and I think everyone leaves with a big smile on their face because it’s all about giving,” she said.
Many of the volunteers are out to make sure that local kids have a good holiday season.
“Yesterday, we were watching a couple of kids in the lobby while their parent shopped because the parent couldn’t get childcare,” said Veley.
“I was just asking them what they want for Christmas, and she said ‘a skateboard’ and he said ‘Legos’ and we were able to work some magic and make sure they got sent home with what they wanted. It’s stuff like that which makes you feel like, 'this is why we’re here,'” she said.
She hopes that every child is able to feel like they are supported for Christmas.
“We’re just happy we can provide some extra joy around Christmas time. We want to make sure that every kid in the community knows someone is thinking about them this Christmas,” Veley said.
Volunteers begin planning for the Marysville Toy Store about halfway through the year as they serve a large amount of families.
“I think that it’s clear that there is such a huge need in our community,” said Veley.
“When I got here this morning there was a line all the way down to the sidewalk in pouring rain. If families are willing to stand in the rain to get toys for their kids then I would say there is a huge need,” she said.
She wanted to show appreciation for all the community organizations and volunteers who help make the Marysville Toy Store possible.
“I want to thank the entire community for continuing to support this event every year because it matters and it does make a difference,” said Veley.