Local low-income families can shop for gifts priced at 25 cents

by: SUBMITTED - West Linn families will get to purchase holiday gifts for just 25 cents each at the UNITY Center. The UNITY Center is making Christmas brighter for families in need this year with its third annual 25-Cent Toys for Girls and Boys donation drive now through Dec. 16.

The center reached out to school counselors at Bolton, Cedaroak Park and Willamette primary schools. Low-income families from these participating schools have been invited to “shop” for toys for just $.25 each. Last year, the toy drive provided gifts to 60 children from 20 different West Linn families. This year, organizers hope to provide toys to 30 different families.

“All parents want to experience the joy of shopping for gifts for their children,” said Rev. Victoria Etchemendy of the UNITY Center. “During times of unemployment or other times of financial difficulties, buying toys can seem like an impossible extravagance. This event gives parents the opportunity to buy gifts for their children that they would not otherwise be able to afford.”

On Dec. 16, The Unity Center volunteers will turn the facility’s basement into Santa’s workshop of sorts. Parents from participating families will be invited to pick out stocking stuffers, three toys, a book, a craft/art supply or a game for each of their children for a quarter each.

Upstairs, parents will be treated to holiday music, movies, hot cocoa and sweets while UNITY Center volunteers wrap their children’s gifts.

“It’s a really fun event for everyone involved,” said Clare Bean, communications director for the UNITY Center. “The parents are actually doing the shopping for their kids so they get the opportunity to provide at Christmas in some small way.”

Bean said organizers hope to expand the toy drive next year and reach out to needy families at all six primary schools in West Linn.

Community members are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys, books, games, craft items or sporting equipment for children ages infant to 18. Donations will be accepted now until Dec. 16 at noon. Donations will be accepted Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information or to schedule a donation drop-off after hours, call 503-697-9765 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The UNITY Center is located at 20255 Willamette Drive, West Linn.

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