Toy donations sought at ML Food Bank

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MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Food Bank is continuing its tradition of distributing toys as well as food during the Christmas season, and food bank operators are accepting donations of toys and food, along with money to buy toys and food.

Registration for Operation Friendship started Monday, said food bank director Peny Archer, with distribution scheduled for Dec. 15. Families must be Moses Lake residents to qualify.

Archer estimated Operating Friendship will need to provide toys for about 500 children. “Any and all (money) donations that are marked for toys are spent on toys,” she said. “Every dollar (donated) goes to a toy.” Parents can sign up during the food bank’s business hours, 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday. All toys are distributed locally. “All of them stay right here.”

The food bank will keep distributing any toys they have through closing time on Dec. 20, Archer said. Toys can be stored until next Christmas, of course, but toys shouldn’t be in storage, she said. “They need to be under a tree with a kid playing with them.”

The food bank is focusing on toys for children up to 12 years of age, although items appropriate for teenagers will be distributed to families with teens. Donations should be new toys, $10 to $20 in value, and should be unwrapped. Both suggestions are prompted by past experiences, Archer said people have donated inappropriate items, and sometimes broken toys, that have to be weeded out before distribution. In addition, parents and organizers have to make sure the toy will work for the child’s age and gender, and will fit with any disabilities.

The $10 to $20 suggestion comes from the idea that it’s better to have a lot of relatively inexpensive toys, rather than fewer relatively more expensive toys, Archer said.

Of course, the food bank is still continuing its week-in, week-out work of distributing food. Winter means people are looking for more hearty foods, Archer said, things like canned chili, soups and stews.

Along with Christmas comes Christmas vacation from school, and no school lunch or breakfast. Working families will need food kids can prepare on their own, while Mom and Dad are working, Archer said. The food bank is located at 1075 W. Marina Dr., and donations of food, toys or money are accepted while the food bank staff is working, usually about 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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