Toys for Kids in need of donations, gift cards

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Toy for Kids fundraising coordinator Tammy Kish sets some toys on a shelf that will be distributed to children of families in need. Kish said many more donations are needed to help ensure the more than 1,200 kids have gifts to open on Christmas.

ALPENA — Beginning Monday volunteers will begin wrapping gifts donated to the Vietnam Veterans for their Toys for Kids operation.

The problem is there are few gifts to wrap and donations are badly needed to make sure the more than 1,200 children in Alpena, Montmorency, Alcona and Presque Isle counties have a present to open.

According to fundraising coordinator Tammy Kish, many toys are needed before the presents begin to be delivered on Dec. 9. She said donations have been slow to come in this year and if they don’t pick up, there could be some families who won’t receive the support they need this Christmas season.

“We are way behind,” she said. “It looks like we have toys on the shelf, but what we have won’t take long to wrap, so we need to have the shelves full and have backup.”

Toys, as well as hats and gloves, are needed for boys and girls from newborn to one-year-old, one to three years old, four to seven years old, eight to10 years old, 11-13 years old and 14-17 years old, Kish said. Each child will receive a large gift, $20 or more, a medium present $11 to $18 and a small gift valued at $5 to $10.

She said gifts for teens and eight to 13 year olds are the most badly needed, but all other age groups also need an infusion of donations.

Kish said stocking stuffers also are needed, which are small gifts and items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. She said hats and gloves for the kids also is something the vets need.

“Our goal is to make sure each child gets a hat and pair of gloves,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe how many kids there are in the counties that don’t have them and that’s sad.”

Kish said the number of kids who will need gifts likely will go up because the deadline to request gifts is Dec. 14. She said gifts will be wrapped and delivered until Christmas.

“We usually end up with about 1,800 kids and we stay busy right up until Christmas night,” Kish said. “The Vietnam vets have been doing this for 26 years and it is their mission to make sure no child is left behind on Christmas and they all get gifts.”

People who are busy or don’t want to deal with the busy stores during the holiday season can drop off money at the veteran’s new headquarters in the Thunder Bay Shopping Center next to Neiman’s Family Market, which donated the space this year.

“If they drop off cash, or gift cards we will go and do the shopping,” Tish said.

Tish said there also are drop off boxes placed in local business in all four counties, as well as containers for monetary donations.

Kish said people who need assistance and help with presents for their children can call 358-9085 up until Dec. 14.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.