The boxes that sit at various locations in town collecting toys and gifts for children this year may all look the same, but read carefully and you'll see there are two distinct efforts running concurrently -- one organized by the Enumclaw Police Auxiliary, and the other supported by Enumclaw Fire District No. 28.
The latter effort is known as Toys for Tots 'n Teens, and according to organizer Karen Worthington, both stem from the same effort to serve families of students who receive free or reduced lunches at Enumclaw schools. (Read .)
The families are offered a community Christmas basket that contains food donations towards making a complete holiday meal, Worthington said. Those who accept are then asked how they want gifts for their children -- they can opt for Cops for Kids or Toys for Tots 'n Teens.
Cops for Kids provides wrapped gifts that are picked by the volunteers, Worthington said. Toys for Tots 'n Teens gives parents the opportunity to come in and pick a toy of their choice.
Like Cops for Kids, Toys for Tots 'n Teens are currently accepting donations of cash, checks and new toys and gifts suitable for children up the age of 18, at various locations around town, at the fire station and on next week's neighborhood where Santa is escorted by local firefighters.
This year, according to Worthington, the toys will be set up at the on Saturday, December 17 for parents to come pick up both the Christmas baskets and toys. Therefore the last day she can accept donations is Friday, December 16.
The food donations for the baskets come from and , Worthington said, and they're funded by a trust fund left by an Enumclaw resident that is currently being administered by Enumclaw Kiwanis and the Enumclaw Helping Hand Fund.
Worthington said that as expected, the bulk of donations tend to be toys suitable for younger kids. Teens, however, do appreciate items including books, sports balls, radios, gift cards (from Rite Aid or Walgreens), pajama sets, cosmetics, watches, jewelry and fragrance sets.
Whether residents donate to Cops for Kids or Toys for Tots 'n Teens, it's all going to someone in need and someone in the community, she said. "We're good people here."