Toy and food drive brightening the holiday



Coming to town? Santa Claus is already here.

Federal Way’s annual Community Food and Toy Drive is jingling away, evident in the donations made so far and the organizing by volunteers.

The latter are spending spare time gift-wrapping toys that will be delivered along with food to needy children and their famlies Dec. 22-23.

There’s still time to hop on the holiday bandwagon. Federal Way Fire Department stations will accept donations of new, unwrapped toys and non-perishable food through Dec. 19. High on the list of suggested contributions are items for babies, gifts for children 12 and older, and food staples such as tuna, peanut butter and canned meat.

The fire station locations are 3203 S. 360th St., 31617 First Ave. S., 33414 21st Ave. SW., 3700 S. 320th St., 4966 S. 298th St. and 27010 15th Ave. S.

Each of the 100 families on Santa’s list will receive a turkey, a gallon each of milk and orange juice, cheese, eggs, oranges, bread and enough other groceries for a week, plus gifts for every child.

Last year, volunteers wrapped gifts for 400 children and filled 300 boxes with food. They’re at it again, including Wednesday, when members of the Federal Way Lions Club handled wrapping chores.

The efforts are appreciated at the receiving end. Debbie Goetz, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department, relayed the thanks sent by a household head last year:

"My family and I would like to thank you for your help during the holiday season. It helped out more than most can imagine. The kids loved all the presents they received and we all appreciate the groceries we received, also. Thank you for making the holiday a wonderful one."

The drive is coordinated by volunteers from the Federal Way Firefighters Foundation, the Greater Federal Way Kiwanis and the Lions. Help also comes from local businesses, neighborhood assocations and high schools that make contributions and offer discounts and in-kind services. For instance, merchants’ discounts “give us more purchasing power” with the money that’s donated for gifts, Goetz said.

Other examples are a nursery that has donated 100 poinsettias for the past four years, and a company that this year donated “huge rolls” of wrapping paper and a cutter, Goetz said.

The generosity “is truly inspiring,” she said.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565,

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