MORRIS – Heidi Miller urges parents to think twice before throwing away their children's toys.
"A toy that your child may not be playing with anymore could go to a child who will really love it," Miller said.
Miller organizes the Grundy County Environmental & Resource Conservation Office's annual toy collection, in which gently used toys are saved from landfills and given to local families in need.
"There are so many families fallen on hard times right now," Miller said. "Some of these children will get absolutely no Christmas presents."
Grundy County residents are encouraged to donate their gently used metal or plastic toys, books, puzzles, DVDs or videos between Nov. 14 and Dec. 13 to one of the seven donation sites.
New or like-new stuffed animals and plush toys also will be accepted. Miller asks people to refrain from donating recalled toys or badly damaged toys.
"We've never accepted money in the past, but I suppose one of us could go to Wal-Mart and go on a shopping spree," Miller said.
The toy collection has not officially begun, but three people have already donated seven boxes of items, Miller said. Last year, the department collected just shy of 75 boxes. Miller said in years past, as many as 150 boxes were collected.
"We've been doing this program for about six years," Miller said. "The residents have been very generous all six years. We say used, but we often get a lot of new things."
Among last year's donations were four brand-new bicycles, which were given to We Care of Grundy County, a local nonprofit agency that provides emergency assistance to Grundy County residents in the form of food, rent, utility and prescription assistance.
"The bikes were given as Christmas presents to four local familes," said Denise Gaska, executive director of We Care.
All toys will be passed on to the Grundy County Health Department or local, charitable organizations, which will in turn distribute them to families in need throughout Grundy County.
Miller said organizers receive pictures from organizations like the Rotary Club showing happy kids receiving their toys.
"We are very fortunate to have the capacity and help to make this program possible," Miller said.
Make a donation
Gently used children’s metal and plastic toys, books, puzzles, DVD’s or videos will be accepted at the following locations:
• Braceville Elementary School – 209 N Mitchell St. Braceville • Coal City Public Library – 85 N Garfield St, Coal City • Fossil Ridge Library – 386 W Kennedy Rd, Braidwood • Grundy County Administration Building – 1320 Union St, Morris • Morris Public Library – 604 Liberty St, Morris • Minooka’s Three Rivers Library – 109 N Wabena Ave, Minooka