The Sumner Police Department is doing its best to make sure Santa Claus visits every child with its annual drive, Sumner’s Toy Box.
The partnership with the Sumner-Bonney Lake Family Center and East Pierce Fire and Rescue aims to ensure the children who need help the most are not left without a gift for the holidays.
Those who would like to donate toys can stop by the Sumner Police Department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at 1104 Maple St., Suite 140. There are a few other drop locations, including Roach Gymnastics, Windmill Bistro and the Bonney Lake Bicycle Shop of Sumner.
The businesses with drop locations will accept donations during their store hours. The last day to donate will be Friday.
Toys are requested to be delivered unwrapped. Cash also will be accepted at the Sumner Police Department, which will use it to make gift purchases.
The event has been going on for more than 10 years, records Clerk Sherrie Duggan said.
“I think this is my third year, but it started long before me,” she said.
Duggan said it’s a community exertion and that many of the same citizens and businesses make an effort to donate every year.
After the toys are collected, they are handed over to the Sumner-Bonney Lake Family Center, which distributes the toys among children who have been identified by teachers and school counselors.
Duggan said children ages 12 to 13 often get the fewest donations. Many of the gifts they buy with donated cash are for that age group.
“We go out and do some shopping for kind of general things that kids might like,” Duggan said. “We kind of shop for things for older kids that may get missed.”
Pierce Fire and Rescue collects toys throughout the year for the event, Sumner Police officer Loren Houselog said.
The toy drive is a community effort to help the less fortunate, Houselog said.
“It’s good to be able to give back,” Houselog said. “The biggest thing is that it stays in the community.”
Many of the children who receive the toys come from families that are on welfare or are homeless, but they are not required to give any proof to be considered for the toy drive. School teachers and counselors play a large part in determining what is most needed.
Parents in need who have children who aren’t in school can go to the Sumner-Bonney Lake Family Center to get help, Houselog said.Elsy Pawelak is a freelance reporter for the Herald.