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Christmas House, which helps families with toys, will distribute at food banks

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — For the first time in 39 years, Christmas House will not be operating for the holiday season. Although parents will not be able to come “shop” for their children’s toys at Christmas House in the Everett Boys and Girls Club like previous years, the organization will distribute toys to local food banks so children across the county can still receive gifts this year.
Christmas House will collect and deliver toys to eight local food banks including the Snohomish Community Food Bank, the Maltby Food Bank and the Sky Valley Food Bank in Monroe.
The decision to close Christmas House was not an easy one. The president of the organization, Gregg Milne, said early on they developed an optional opening plan to deal with COVID-19. As the holiday season approached, Christmas House realized serving 200 people per day, and having 40 to 50 volunteers in the building, was not going to be feasible or safe under COVID-19 guidelines. But with such a high unemployment rate, the organization figured there will be more children who need presents this year.
So Milne set up a meeting with local food banks “and proposed an option of getting toys out to them for kids zero to 12-years-old,” he said. “(The food banks) figured they could make that happen, a lot of them already have Christmas gift programs anyway, so this was just helping to bolster their inventories out there.”
The Snohomish Community Food Bank has not operated a toy drive recently but will be distributing toys to families this year. In the past, the Snohomish food bank did have a toy drive but that ended to support of Christmas House, according to director Elizabeth Durand. Toy distribution at the food bank begins on the same day as Christmas meal groceries, Dec. 8.
The Maltby Food Bank is also new to Christmas present distribution. According to director Natalie Oswald, toys from Christmas House were delivered on Nov. 9. Clients can call or use the order form online to describe the kind of toys they are looking for and can pick up during their scheduled pick-up time.
Sky Valley Food Bank in Monroe has been distributing toys through various toy drives over the years. Director Cindy Chessie said the food bank has many local businesses as sponsors that are doing giving trees and assisting the toy distribution efforts of the food bank. Toy distribution begins on Dec. 12.
“Local folks have always supported our toy distribution,” Chessie said.
Donations of toys are still being accepted at all food banks. Monetary donations are accepted as well. Because Christmas House is supplying a large number of toys for age ranges of zero to 12, donations of gifts for kids 13 to 18 are encouraged. Due to the lack of space in most food banks during this time of year, gift cards to fast-food restaurants and local stores are suggested. Monetary and toy donations for any age group are also still being accepted by Christmas House. Money can be sent to Christmas House at P.O. Box 717, Everett, WA 98206, or by PayPal at
For information about distribution times and dates, contact your local food bank.

Snohomish Food Bank: 360-568-7993
Sky Valley Food Bank: 360-794-7959



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Original contents copyrighted by Mach Publishing (Snohomish County Tribune), all rights reserved

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