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Toys For Tots seeks space

Modified: Monday, Nov 12th, 2012

Delilah Valadez, coordinator and co-founder of the Watsonville Toys for Tots program, gets help from Rick Pettigrew and his son, Ryan, during the 2011 toy drive. (File photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE — For more than two decades, Santa Cruz County Toys For Tots has been a clearinghouse for dozens of local nonprofit groups charged with helping families in financial distress.

As the other agencies provide a wide range of social services and help with food and shelter, Toys for Tots’ allows them to include toys for the children.

Program coordinator Delilah Valadez estimates that the organization last year collected and distributed 11,000 toys to dozens of agencies across the county.

Now, after years of providing help, the organization this year is hoping the community can help.

Toys For Tots officials said they have no adequate warehouse space available for collecting, storing, packaging and distributing the toys.

“We’ve met with property owners, realtors, City of Watsonville staff, and there’s nothing vacant available at this time,” Valadez said.

Toys For Tots officials are hoping for a donated warehouse space that offers at least 7,000 square-feet, adequate parking and available from mid-November through the first week of January.

If such a space does not materialize, not to worry, Valadez said. The toy collection and distribution efforts will still happen, although those efforts would occur out of a smaller space, making it difficult to coordinate the team of volunteer “elves” and the mountains of toys.

Thirty non-profit agencies rely on the gifts collected by Toys For Tots for their clients.

“Each year we find ourselves out in the neighborhoods, like Mary & Joseph, wandering and seeking shelter”, continued Valadez. “I’m trusting this year more than ever, that miracle happens again.

Anyone who has warehouse space they can donate or who can help with the search is asked to contact Valadez at dvaladez831@gmail.com or visit santacruzcounty.toysfortots.org.

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