Toys for Tots 2011 campaign under way

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Toys for Tots barrels posted at 20 different locations this week marked the official kickoff to the 2011 campaign.

New, unwrapped toys or cash donations will be accepted throughout the Valley to help local families with the Christmas holiday, organizer Beth Swanson said. This is the 64th year for Toys for Tots and the fifth consecutive year for the Walla Walla campaign. Donations last year provided toys to 792 local children from Dayton to College Place.

Everything collected will be given to area children from newborns to 18-year-olds. Toys for Tots works with St. Vincent de Paul, Walla Walla Public Schools, the local medical centers and other nonprofit organizations to see that every child receives a gift.

Donations can be made at: Book & Game Co., 38 E. Main St.; Community Bank, 28 E. Alder St.; Providence St. Mary Medical Center, 401 W. Poplar St.; Walla Walla Sweets, 109 E. Main St.; City Slickers, 14 W. Main St.; Inland Cellular, 1605 S.E. Meadowbrook Blvd.; AAA Washington, 1361 Dalles Military Road; NAPA, 1830 Isaacs Ave.; Whitman College Bookstore, Reid Campus Center; Tumac Machinery, 3037 E. Melrose St.; O'Brien Motors, 1395 Dalles Military Road; Walla Walla Bread Co., 225 E. Main St.; Legacy Ford, 11 N. Colville St.; Oil Haus, Tiki Grille, Mama Mia's Pasta on the go, Kenwood and Rose streets; John L. Scott Realty, 10 S. Fourth Ave.; Assumption School, 2066 E. Alder St.; Waitsburg Hardware & Mercantile, 134 Main St.; Dayton General Hospital, 1012 S. Third St.; Dayton General Store, 426 W. Main St.; and Dayton High School, 614 S. Third St.

Several businesses are also hosting promotions to benefit Toys for Tots. Through Dec. 14, Book & Game will give 20 percent off anything in the store purchased for Toys for Tots. The Walla Walla Sweets are offering 10 percent off any purchase when a new unwrapped toy is brought into the shop. City Slickers, 14 W. Main St. will host its third annual Cut-a-Thon. Stylists will give free haircuts in exchange for a toy donation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 4.

Families in need of toys can pick up applications at St. Vincent's, 308 W. Main St. on Monday and Nov. 25.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 323 Catherine St. on Nov. 28-Dec. 9; or in Dayton at Country Cupboard, 330 E. Main St. on Nov. 23-30. Families are asked to apply at just one location.

For more information visit walla-walla.wa.toysfortots.org or contact Swanson at 301-7471 or at bethswanson@charter.net .

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Sears is celebrating its 125th birthday with a family and friends event Sunday.

The Big Birthday Bash will serve as an all-in-one event to honor veterans, collect food donations, celebrate the company's milestone birthday and provide special sales and activities, apparel Manager Janet Holm said.

On the agenda: From 1 to 4 p.m. the Rose Street store will have a National Guard vehicle on site. Sales of hot dogs and Coke products will benefit National Guard veterans programs and the Sears Heroes at Home gift registry.

A coloring contest for kids 1-12 years old will also be conducted. Prizes will be awarded in three age groups. Entries must be returned by 4 p.m. Sunday. Winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Children do not need to be present to win.

The birthday bash will also serve as a food drive. Those who bring three cans of food to the store now through Sunday will receive a ticket to be entered into two drawings for $50 Sears gift cards. The drawings will take place at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Participants must be 18 or older and must be present to win. Food donations will be given to Helpline.

In addition, treats will be given to the first 125 customers starting at 6 p.m. Cupcakes will be served. Some of the cupcakes will come with prizes.

The friends and family sale will be include a savings pass in the apparel department and provide an additional 20 percent off merchandise. Some restrictions will apply, but the pass will be good Sunday through Tuesday. Sales will also take place in shoes. Between 6 and 9 p.m. sales will run through the entire store. Some items will be priced lower than they will be on Black Friday, Holm said.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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