Baskets of Joy program helps 400 families, 800 children during holiday season

The third annual Beaverton Toy and Gift Card Drive brought in more than 500 toys between Nov. 19 and Dec. 19 to benefit local youths in need.

The partnership among the city of Beaverton, the Tualatin Valley Gleaners and the Beaverton School District McKinney-Vento Homeless Program helped distribute new toys, food and gift cards for the holidays.

Organizers and volunteers with the gleaners sought to help 500 families, including 1,000 children, through the year's toy drive.

Toys were collected at eight locations including Beaverton City Hall, Beaverton City Library, the Murray-Scholls library branch, the Human Bean, Umpqua Bank on Southwest Barnes Rd, VeggieGrill on Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard, Little Pixels and EcoBinary.

More than 1,200 pounds of food was collected at City Hall, Beaverton City Library and the Beaverton Farmers Market.

The gleaners distributed toys and food through the group's Baskets of Joy program to more than 400 low-income families, including more than 800 children on Dec 21. Including the gifts collected through the Beaverton Toy and Gift Card drive, the gleaners distributed 1,300 toys and 20,000 pounds of food, with the help of donations from the Golden Crown Restaurant, Dugout Bar and Grill, Beaverton Elks, the Barrows Road Albertsons store and the Oregon Food Bank.

“We couldn’t have done it without the support of our dedicated volunteers,” said Heather Thompson, program director. “We all work together to make it a special holiday season.”

The drive also helped the Beaverton School District McKinney-Vento Program to collect 175 gift cards, totaling $1,506, for homeless youth during winter break.

In addition to the toy drive, the Gleaners launched its Baskets of Joy fundraiser at the Harvest Market on Nov. 24, the final Beaverton Farmers Market day of the season. Market-goers were encouraged to bring nonperishable gifts, such as peanut butter and canned goods as well as beauty, grooming and cleaning supplies. Customers were encouraged to purchase an extra market vendor product as a donation to the Gleaners, through which more than 500 families collaborate to "glean" food from fields and orchards and collect items that stores and markets donate.

Thompson and Mayor Denny Doyle extended thanks to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and the Kiwanis Club of Cedar Hills for their help in collecting gift cards this year.

The 2012 toy drive brought new toys and books to more than 960 children, along with more than $2,800 worth of gift cards for the holiday season, noted Megan Cohen, coordinator of the city's Neighborhood Program.

For more information about community resources or how to help, call Lani Parr in the city's Neighborhood Program at 503-526-2243 or visit

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