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You can help save the holidays from 2020!

There’s no other way to say it: 2020 has been a thief of joy all year. Any time you’ve had an ounce of happiness or good news, you brace for the other shoe to drop. If you haven’t experienced the phenomenon of being 2020ed, well you just you keep that to yourself. There are 42 days left in the year, and as we all know – 2020 doesn’t mess around.

No matter how much the adults in their life have tried to shield them, kids have been experiencing just as much heartache this year. From not experiencing school milestones, missing sports and recitals, to just not seeing their friends. Now with the number of families experiencing financial strain, many of Auburn, Algona, and Pacific’s kids are at risk of losing the happy holidays as well.

Toys for Kids 2020

But there’s something we all can do to help save the holidays from the Voldemort that is 2020! The Valley Professional Firefighters are still hosting their annual Toys for Kids. It will look different this year, but it is still happening, and you can help!

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Collecting donations for the 2019 Toys for Kids program outside the Lakeland Hills Haggen | courtesy photo

The bonus of social distancing is you won’t hear those annoying bells (I said what I said) every time you go to the store. The downfall is our firefighters aren’t able to fundraise like they normally do. This means the funding they will use for this event is taking a dramatic hit.

Not being able to fundraise outside grocery stores is “not only affecting Toys for Kids but all of our Benevolent Fund fundraising events,” said Valley Professional Firefighter member Cory Wallace. “We are going virtual this year with our fundraising and we are confident the citizens of our three cities will pitch in what they can.”

The Toys for Kids event previously benefited from generous donations from local businesses and toy drives.  Between layoffs and safety measures due to the pandemic, the toys for year’s event will be purchased, at a discount, with the money raised through the Valley Professional Firefighters – Toys for Kids campaign.

900 Kids, 325 Households, 1 Event

The 2019 Toys for Kids event provided toys for 900 kids from 325 households. The need is expected to be higher this year due to the pandemic. Wallace shared there is concern the event won’t be able to meet the community’s need, “but with the public help and the dedication from our members, we will find a way.”

Us. We are the way. So, take a deep breath, pretend it’s full of rainbows and unicorns, and let out all of the 2020. Repeat as necessary, because we’ve got work to do.

Press Play. Trust me.

How you can help in Easy Steps:

  1. Get up (after you stop reading this article).
  2. Get your wallet.
  3. Get out whatever credit or debit card has the highest limit.
  4. Click this link —> Valley Professional Firefighters – Toys for Kids.
  5. Enter a number with lots of zeros.
  6. Click continue and follow the prompts to complete your donation.
  7. Share this article with everyone you know (everyone) 
  8. Share it on all of your social media accounts (tell everyone they’ll be the reason
    we don’t beat the final 2020 boss if they don’t donate and share
    )
  9. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite tasty beverage, because you just helped save
    the holidays for some of our community’s kids! John Mcclane would be proud.

Helping the Helpers, Help

In all seriousness, the Valley Professional Firefighters are women and men dedicated to our helping and serving our communities. On top of their normal first responder duties, they provide a myriad of services to our community. Many members are working tirelessly to test the thousands of folks coming to the Auburn Covid-19 testing site. Our firefighters regularly provide mutual aid, including this summer to the Sumner-grade fire.

The bottom line is, the Valley Professional Firefighters are there for us when we need them. Right now, they need us. Ironically they need us to help them, help us. So please donate if you’re able. Because of the pandemic, they’re only able to accept online monetary donations.

These donations will go toward purchasing toys, at a discount, from Fred Meyer in Auburn.  The receipt last year was quite impressive, stretching the length of several check stands. “The Auburn Fred Meyer comes through year after year allowing us to buy all the toys for kids,” said Wallace. “The staff there has been great.”

The firefighters are hoping for a longer receipt this year, but that, Wallace said “depends on the fundraising”

If you don’t have the means to donate that’s okay! Sharing information to donate like this article or any of the Valley Regional Fire Authority posts on social media) is extremely helpful.

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The Fred Meyer receipt from the Toys for Kids toy shopping. (A CVS receipt would still be longer…) | Courtesy photo

Sign up for Toys for Kids

Families in need should contact the Auburn Food Bank to sign up on the Auburn Foodbank Website or by calling 253-833-8925. To be eligible, families must live in Algona, Auburn, or Pacific.

The Toys for Kids Drive is a partnership between the Auburn Food Bank, Valley Professional Firefighters Local 1352, and the Valley Regional Fire Authority.  At this time the method of distribution of toys has not been determined. Families will be notified.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get the “I-800-Cars4Kids” song out of my head.

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