200-plus gifts are donated to toy drive at elementary school

Scott Gilchrist and Trevor Ramirez hold up gifts that were donated to the Redding Elementary School toy drive. More than 200 gifts were donated this year.

The Redding Elementary School Parent Teacher Association has continued with its tradition of running a toy drive at the school.

The toy drive was originally for Redding families in need, but when Tamar Dessner, PTA community service chair, took over the event, she expanded it to reach the greater community as well.

“Throughout the years we have included several different agencies and organizations that reach out to help children, and the two that I’ve always included are Kids in Crisis and Boys and Girls Village,” said Ms. Dessner.

Kids in Crisis is Connecticut’s only free, round-the-clock agency providing emergency shelter, crisis counseling and community educational programs for children of all ages, she said. Families deal with a wide range of crises, including domestic violence, mental health and family problems, substance abuse, economic difficulties, and more.

More than 100,000 families and children have been helped by Kids in Crisis through crisis counseling services, temporary shelter and prevention programs provided throughout the area, she said.

The clients of Boys and Girls Village are children in crisis or children with learning difficulties who have experienced rejection, failure or abuse, said Ms. Dessner. Through the years, the agency has evolved into a leading therapeutic and learning facility offering residential shelter, clinical, after-school, counseling, special educational, foster, and adoptive programs; family support services; and day programs for children and their families.

“The Redding Elementary School gift drive was able to donate about 100 gifts to the Boys and Girls Village and more than 100 gifts to Kids in Crisis,” said Ms. Dessner. “So many of the wishes from the children were for towels sets, bedsheets, winter coats, pajamas, even socks and underwear. I tried to gather extra gift donations this year to include an age-appropriate toy with each gift that wasn’t a toy — whether they asked for it or not.”

The toy drive lasted for about two weeks at the school.

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