Toys drive nets gifts for nearly 1,000 kids

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Businesses and area residents gave a merry Christmas to nearly 1,000 local children through the sixth consecutive Toys for Tots drive in Walla Walla.

Toys collected throughout the Valley were distributed to 996 local children ranging from newborn to 18 years old, said local toy drive coordinator Beth Swanson.

“I am so grateful to the community for embracing Toys for Tots,” Swanson said in a prepared statement. “The support we receive from businesses, organizations and individuals enables us to reach over 350 local families in need with the basic idea that every child deserves Christmas.”

This year was the 65th anniversary of the Toys for Tots Foundation, celebrated by the U.S. Marine Corps.

The nearly monthlong drive was coordinated through partnerships with St. Vincent de Paul, Walla Walla Public Schools, Children’s Home Society, YWCA, local medical centers and other nonprofit organizations to bring the holidays to children in need.

Other organizations and businesses that supported the efforts: The Moms’ Network, Book & Game Co., Community Bank, the Early Learning Coalition, Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Falkenbergs Jewelers, Inland Cellular, Assumption School, AAA Washington, NAPA, O’Brien Chevrolet, Windermere, John L. Scott, Walla Walla Bread Co., Parent to Parent, Walla Walla Sweets baseball, Legacy Ford, Walgreens, Bank of America, Gesa Credit Union, Starbucks, Pioneer Middle School, Wa-Hi, Sweet Putt, Del Taco, YWCA Ice Chalet, Va Piano Vineyards, Sunrise Dental, Carnegie Art Lab, Wal-Mart, Pepsi, AmericanWest Bank, Waitsburg Hardware & Mercantile, the Country Cupboard in Dayton, the Church of the Latter Day Saints Missionaries, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Combat Veterans International Motorcycle Group.

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