FiveCAP Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens distributes Christmas gifts to more than 814 children

January 6, 2021

FiveCAP Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens distributes Christmas gifts to more than 814 children

SCOTTVILLE — Christmas morning was brighter for hundreds of children in Manistee and Mason counties, thanks to the 48th Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens, and the generosity of area businesses and community members. 

The Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens program, spearheaded by FiveCAP, Inc. made sure children ages up to 18-years-old in low income homes have new presents to unwrap on Christmas morning. 

This year, at least 312 families and 814 children were served, with 174 families and 465 children in Mason County, and 138 families and 349 children in Manistee County. 

“The numbers of families we helped is up from last year, showing a greater need this year due to COVID-19,” said Angela Anderson, community support director for FiveCAP, Inc.

“We are very thankful to the Holiday Inn Express Graystone Event Center in Ludington, and the Manistee VFW Hall for Manistee County for the support in providing distribution sites large enough for screening and social distancing.”

Smiling faces and holiday cheer greeted parents and guardians who came to pick out gifts for their children at the VFW Hall in Manistee on Dec. 16 and 17. They were able to choose one major gift and several small ones for each child in addition to stocking stuffers and a family game. 

Large tables were packed with so many fun gift items to engage interests and needs for youth 0 to 18, from art supplies, dolls, toy cars and trucks, sports-themed games, care products for teens, and so much more. 

Among the bigger items were dozens of bikes. 

“Many community members made donations anonymously,”” said Sharon White, coordinator of the Manistee Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens distribution. “Five Star Realty donated 28 bikes; Oaks Correctional Facility donated two bikes; and an anonymous individual donated 5 bikes and 3 scooters. Everything has been fantastic. It makes my heart bigger to see all of the support.”

Volunteers also helped make the program another success. Justin and Amber Sedelmaier added to the sense of festivity, with Amber decked out as one of Santa’s elves, and Justin dressed as the Grinch. 

“We volunteered for Toys for Tots when we lived in California, and when we moved here we found out FiveCAP  had a Toys for Tots program, and started volunteering, Amber said, adding it is their sixth year volunteering with the program. “My kids went through FiveCAP, and my husband I continue to participate because we love doing it.”

During the distributions, safety precautions due to COVID-19, were observed. Volunteers were required to wear masks and gloves. Upon arrival, parents and guardians had their temperature checked, and were required to wear masks. Those who didn’t bring a mask were given one. A limit of four shoppers at a time were guided through the shopping area. 

Each donation made in Mason and Manistee counties stayed in that county. Essentially, the generosity of businesses and individuals brought cheer to their neighbors, reflecting what the Christmas season is largely about, thinking of others. 

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