EDITORIAL | Making merry for our children

Islanders are hard at work making sure that a child’s worst nightmare never happens: That he or she will wake up Christmas morning and find nothing under the tree, while other boys and girls in the neighborhood are celebrating their good luck.

On Whidbey Island, this scenario should never happen. Businesses up and down the island participated in Festival of Trees, which helps the Boys and Girls Club fund Christmas presents and activities for kids.

Last weekend, the Marine Corps Reserve staked out the Clinton ferry terminal both days, collecting money for Toy for Tots. Volunteer sailors carried their buckets through the rain past parked cars, as people handed over change and bills that will all be turned into new toys for island children. The Marine Corps Reserve works with island agencies to make sure distributions are made locally.

Readiness to Learn is partnering with toys Toys for Tots for the Holiday House that opened yesterday.

The annual Holiday House project, sponsored by the Island County Readiness To Learn Foundation, opened its doors for shoppers on Dec. 11. Donations can be dropped into Toys for Tots drop boxes or can be delivered to the Family Resource Center on Maxwelton Road in Langley.

Holiday House provides not just toys, but a shopping experience for parents who may not be able to give their children the Christmas experience any other way. Holiday House provides gifts for children of families struggling to meet basic needs. Set up like a store, it allows families to shop with dignity for presents and wrap items their children want and need.

This year the store is located at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation building on Maxwelton Road in Langley. Shopping is done by appointment only. There are eligibility guidelines for families, but all inquiries will be treated confidentially and the shopping can be done in a confidential atmosphere.

One toy, purchased lovingly by a family together to put into a Holiday House drop box, is affordable and teaches a philanthropic lesson to those very same kids, organizers say. For more information, call 221-0484 or visit www.rtlearnfoundation.org.

Churches and schools all have the necessary connections to get toys to children, so drop off toys there if you prefer. Experience has shown that if we all work together, every child on Whidbey Island will have a merry Christmas in 2012.

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