Volunteer Pat Gritman sorts toys at last year’s Toys for Sequim Kids event. The annual event returns Dec. 14 to the Sequim Prairie Grange with donations accepted throughout the area through Dec. 12. (Matthew Nash /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Volunteer Pat Gritman sorts toys at last year’s Toys for Sequim Kids event. The annual event returns Dec. 14 to the Sequim Prairie Grange with donations accepted throughout the area through Dec. 12. (Matthew Nash /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Giving trees spring up to help annual ‘Toys for Sequim Kids’

Donation boxes set up throughout town

SEQUIM — For volunteers with Sequim Community Aid, it’s never too early to think about putting smiles on children’s faces at Christmas time.

“We shop all year,” said Kathy Suta, co-organizer of Toys For Sequim Kids.

“I love (helping out). We have a couple who buys two bikes every year. It’s part of people’s giving.”

Suta and fellow volunteers are ramping up for the annual tradition by placing Christmas trees and donation boxes at businesses and churches.

The group seeks new toys, clothes, games and more for local children from babies to 18-year-olds.

The long-standing tradition culminates in a day of giving to Sequim families from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at Sequim Prairie Grange, 290 Macleay Road.

Volunteers collect items through Dec. 12.

Where to donate

Donors can find the Christmas trees with request slips at the following locations:

• Anytime Fitness, 10135 Old Olympic Highway.

• Coastal, 990 E. Washington St.

• The Co-Op Farm and Garden, 216 E. Washington St.

• Oasis Bar and Grill, 301 E. Washington St.

• Starbucks, 1095 W. Washington St.

• YMCA of Sequim, 610 N. Fifth Ave.

Donation boxes also can be found at Radio Shack, 680 W. Washington St., Suite B-106, and at several Sequim churches.

Last year’s Toys for Sequim Kids helped about 300 children in the Sequim area, organizers estimate.

Monetary donations are an important element of the giving, Suta said, because gifts for older children tend to be more expensive, such as electronics and clothing.

How to help financially

To help with the event financially, mail monetary donations to: Sequim Community Aid, P.O. Box 1591, Sequim, WA, 98382 and specify checks with “toys” in the memo line.

The agency also helps provide year-round utility and rent assistance in the Sequim area. To donate to the agency for utility assistance, leave the memo blank, organizers said.

Call Sequim Community Aid at 360-681-3731 for assistance and/or to volunteer.

More ways to help

• Sequim Community Aid will be at Olympic Theatre Arts’ shows for “The Best Christmas Pageant” from Dec. 1-18, collecting toys and monetary donations. Get more information about tickets at olympictheatrearts.org.

• Blue Sky Realty, 190 Priest Road, collects new blankets and new clothing for Toys for Sequim Kids through Dec. 12.

• Santa’s Toy and Food Fire Brigade returns to touring the City of Sequim in an antique fire truck Dec. 5-9, collecting toys and money for Toys for Sequim Kids, and food and money for Sequim Food Bank.

They’ll tentatively be driving from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day and parking at Centennial Place (northeast corner of Washington Street/Sequim Avenue on Dec. 9). Listen for the music and look for Santa and elves handing out candy canes. Also look for the fire truck tentatively in the Tractor Parade in downtown Sequim at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Volunteers/process

Suta said volunteers for Toys for Sequim Kids and year-long utility/rental assistance are needed as some longtime members are no longer able to help. If interested, call Sequim Community Aid at 360-681-3731.

At Toys for Sequim Kids, parents and guardians must show proof of Sequim School District residence, and provide the names, ages and gender of their children.

Child care is not available during the event. Once signed in, a volunteer will guide parents/guardians to tables and help select age-appropriate gifts.

Each child will receive at least two gifts, a book, blanket and clothing, while each family receives a game and an art and craft activity. Families can enter a drawing for a bicycle if their child does not have a bike.

Toys for Sequim Kids is co-chaired by Susan Brown, Kathy Joyner, Sharon Ryan and Suta of Sequim Community Aid.

For more information, call 360-681-3731 and leave a message.

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