Kent firefighters deliver nearly 5,000 toys to Kent Food Bank | Slide Show

Kent firefighters dropped off nearly 5,000 wrapped toys, 1,000 stuffed animals and other unwrapped gifts Thursday morning to the Kent Food Bank for families in the community who cannot afford to buy gifts.

Volunteer Bryce Schack

Volunteer Bryce Schack

Kent firefighters dropped off nearly 5,000 wrapped toys, 1,000 stuffed animals and other unwrapped gifts Thursday morning to the Kent Food Bank for families in the community who cannot afford to buy gifts.

Each year as part of the Toys for Joy event the Kent Fire Department, Kent Firefighters Local 1747, the Kent Firefighters Foundation, local businesses and residents work together to donate, wrap, and deliver the toys to the Kent Food Bank. A portion of the toys also go to other local food banks that service the Kent Fire Department’s response area.

People donated toys over the last few weeks at collection barrels at Kent fire stations as well as Kent City Hall.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out on three nights at Kent Fire Station 75 to help wrap the gifts. Many of the wrappers were teenagers fulfilling community service hours, scout troops, and church members. A large number of the helpers were “wrapping veterans” who return each year to help those in the community who are less fortunate, according to a Kent Fire Department media release.

“Because of the economy of the last few years, we’ve seen more and more need,” said Kent firefighter Justin Schauer, who oversees the program. “It’s unfortunate when parents can’t buy the gifts that they want to for their children. That’s where we step in to help. It’s amazing how generous our community is, donating toys and helping wrap and deliver them to the food bank.”

While many local businesses support the Toys for Joy program, the Kent Fire Department highlighted Kent-based Door to Door Storage for contributing the containers that the unwrapped toys were stored in and Oregon-based USF Reddaway Trucking, which has a Kent service center, for donating a semi trailer to store and deliver the gifts.

Firefighters said the the program, which has existed for more than 20 years, could not continue without the support of the community.

“These toys will make the holiday season much happier for over 2,000 children who wouldn’t have gotten any gifts, otherwise,” Schauer said.

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