Opinion

Toys badly needed for Hopelink's holiday gift rooms | Editor's Note

As of last Friday, only a handful of toys had been donated to Hopelink’s Shoreline Center. - Courtesy of Hopelink
As of last Friday, only a handful of toys had been donated to Hopelink’s Shoreline Center.
— image credit: Courtesy of Hopelink

When I was a little girl, my younger sister and I wrote a letter to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Handwritten in pencil, it said something like this:

“Dear Santa,

Maybe it’s hard for you to find us because our house is surrounded by trees where it’s dark and our parents leave the porch light off at night. But we’re writing you because we want to send you our address so you know how to find us this year.”

Our letter included our address and our wish list of toys that we asked Santa to bring us. We folded the letter, sealed it in an envelope and placed it on the windowsill in our bedroom. On Christmas morning, we saw the letter that was still there and hoped that Santa had read it.

We excitedly threw on some clothes, talked about what kind of toys we hoped Santa had brought us and ran downstairs to look for our presents. When we didn’t find a Christmas tree set up, we wondered if maybe Santa had just dropped off the presents. I remember we looked in every corner of the house – including the porch. Nothing.

Of course, we didn’t understand at the time that we didn’t receive any presents because our parents didn’t celebrate the holiday for religious reasons.

But it saddens me to think that there are thousands of children right here in our community who may go without gifts this year because their parents can’t afford them.

Last year, nearly 7,000 children received a new toy from one of Hopelink’s five holiday gift rooms. Demand is high again this year, but Hopelink officials say that shelves are nearly bare at some centers and toys are badly needed.

Donations can be dropped off at any Hopelink Center through Friday, Dec. 14. Centers in Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland and Sno-Valley also are open limited hours on Saturday, Dec. 15 to accept donations.

Hopelink’s Kirkland/Northshore Center is located at 11011 120th N.E. and can be reached at 425-889-7880.

Toys and gifts are needed for all ages – as well as warm clothes, sweatshirts and sports clothing. Items range from Fischer Price and Baby Einstein toys for tots, to Justin Bieber-themed dolls and cosmetics and Xbox games for teens.

Hopelink President and CEO Marilyn Mason-Plunkett said the holiday gift rooms provide a few brief moments when kids are able to just be kids.

“Oftentimes, the gift a child receives through one of our gift rooms is the only new toy they will be given all year,” she said.

“All of our Hopelink families are working hard every single day toward self-sufficiency, but many of them cannot afford to buy even the smallest toy or gift for their children. Our gift rooms provide a way for them to create their own special moments of joy for the children in their lives.”

Hopelink, the largest social services agency serving east and north King County, stocks the rooms with donations from local toy drives, corporate-sponsored giving trees, and individual contributions. The gift rooms are in their 18th year.

For center locations and hours, visit: tinyurl.com/d39bqeh or call Hopelink at 425-869-6000. A list of toy and gift suggestions is available here: www.hope-link.org/Hopelink_Gift_Guidelines_2012.pdf

When you are out running holiday errands, please think about picking up a toy and donating it to Hopelink so that a child will wake up on Christmas morning and have a gift to unwrap.

 

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