Serving the community since 1922

Toys for Tigers spreads holiday cheer

Toys for Tigers held its annual toy giveaway for needy children Saturday. Over 380 families were served, with over 1,000 gifts distributed.

"We purchased the toys through donations we raise all year long," said Toys for Tigers treasurer Pat Ketcherside "Every year we have a lot of sponsors like the Wasco Rotary Club and the Wonderful Company; they are a big supporter of us. We have over 40 sponsors."

She added that many volunteers work to make the toy distribution a success.

"We are all volunteers. Nobody gets paid."

This year, Wasco FFA club members and students from the Wonderful College Prep Academy came to help. Toys for Tigers committee members, friends and many different families also played a big role.

"We have so much support. It is amazing. This way, we are able to bless so many families," Ketcherside said.

It is a family affair for Erica Marin, who came with her whole family, including her grandmother, mom, dad and four children ranging in age from three to 16.

"It is important to instill the value of learning the spirit of giving and their understanding that Christmas is about coming together as a community," Marin said.

"I feel volunteering is good to give back. By being involved, it's the only way to make our community better."

Of the toy distribution, Marin said it makes Christmas special for kids.

"For kids, Christmas is centered around waking up and finding a gift under the tree. Every kid in our community deserves to have that feeling," she said.

She said the quality of the gifts was bought with love and thoughtfulness.

"We want to make a little kid feel good. We choose the toys carefully to fit the age of the child with the idea that they'll like the toy."

Donna Ward, Toys for Tigers president, said, "I think today is overwhelming in a good way, and our community has done this to benefit the children in Wasco."

She said the best part is knowing that some of our kids in the community can have a Christmas. "I am grateful for Grace Community Church for letting us have the event here," she said.

"I also want to thank the committee for all of their hard work all year long and the community of Wasco for always giving to us."

Some volunteers have served Toys for Tigers for many years.

Leila Marin with the Wasco FFA Club said, "I volunteer because I have been doing this since I was five. I feel good doing something to help kids that are less fortunate."

Connie Hively said she has volunteered for about ten to 15 years.

"There is a lot of caring volunteers today. You see a lot of repeat people coming back."

The act of volunteering is rewarding for them.

"I get to see their smile and feel happy knowing you accomplished a good thing for someone else," FFA officer Dayana Limon shared.

Ketcherside said, "We have a good time doing it. We get a sense of fulfillment by doing this."

"It was a great day. It truly was. We had so much help, and everybody pitched in. They did a great job."


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