TOLEDO, Ohio — All week long leading up to the annual toy drive on Thursday, a room at Lucas County Children Services is stocked full of toys and clothes for kids all over the county.
"We'll serve about 2,000 - maybe a little more than that - children through the drive this year," explained director of communications and government relations, Julie Malkin, "and last year, we processed 18,000 toys."
Malkin said the toys Lucas County Children Services collects during the holiday season are the only toys some kids receive. Those toys go to kids of all ages, from newborn to 18-years-old.
"Seeing how the community reaches out to them, whether it's a $5 item or a $100 bicycle, it's still the community saying that we care about the children that we live with here and we care about our friends and neighbors," said Malkin.
Toys or puzzles are always a good idea for those little ones, just make sure you look at the age range on the box. As for older kids, Malkin said gift cards and body care items are popular this year.
"Folks really understand that the kids that we work with, the families we work with are going through tough times and they want to do something to make things better for them, even if it's just for one day."
Malkin explained they normally have a long list of volunteers helping with the event, but the pandemic has resulted in fewer helping hands this year. She said thankfully, the community always steps up though.
If you aren't able to donate toys this holiday season, Malkin explained becoming a foster parent is the best gift of all.
The Gift of Joy Toy Drive is Thursday, Dec. 9, at the WTOL 11 studios located at 730 N. Summit St. from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.