For more than 60 years — including during a global pandemic — Canby Kiwanis has blessed thousands of kids and families in their community with their annual Community Food & Toy Drive, and that proud tradition is now back in full swing.
Since the annual giveaway of new toys and Christmas feasts began in 1958, the Kiwanis Club of Canby has worked hard to bring the entire community together to make the holidays bright for our neighbors in need.
“This is an opportunity for our entire community to come together and take care of our own,” said Sharon Schneider, chair of the event. “Working together, it’s a chance for our community to help anyone in the Canby School District who wants help.”
Because Covid-19 continues to make it hard to collect and distribute canned food safely, the drive will for a second year provide grocery gift cards to Cutsforth’s Market instead — allowing families to purchase the food they need for their holiday celebrations. (The cards cannot be spent on tobacco or alcohol.)
“We spent about $32,000 last year on food and gift cards,” Schneider explained. “This generosity is supported by so many people.”
Toy collections, however, will be business as usual, with donation barrels available at many local businesses until December 10. The holiday barrels are ready now for the community to drop off new and unwrapped toys suited for all age groups, from newborns to teenagers.
Club leaders also use cash donations to purchase toys, doing online research (and secret back channels to the North Pole) to find the season’s best and most-desired toys for children of all ages.
Donations from the community make all the difference, Kiwanians say. For barrel locations or to give financially towards toys and food cards, please visit canbykiwanis.org. For questions, contact Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those in need, applications to participate are now available at Canby Kiwanis Thrift Store, The Canby Center, Canby Public Library and The Canby Adult Center. Applications are due by December 8. Applicants must live in the Canby School District.
Canby Kiwanis will host two donation drop-off events at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Events Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 27 and December 4th. Kiwanians and volunteers will spend several weeks sorting and preparing for the communitywide pickup and distribution.
Distribution of toys and food cards will be December 17 at the fairgrounds. The drive serves about 400 local families and 1,000 children each year.
In addition to the impact the drive makes on local families, participants and volunteers also harbor fond memories of the annual outreach. Longtime Kiwanian Deb Harman recounted in a recent club newsletter a story of how the four classes at Canby High School used to compete to see who could collect the most food items for the drive.
“I remember one assembly when the Class of ’77 — my class! — was winning,” she recalled. “Suddenly, through the doors burst a shopping cart laden with canned goods and boxes of Cheerios. The Class of ’76 had staged a surprise!
“A senior girl rode atop the cart, as the senior boys ran it around the gym, the shopping cart careening wildly on two wheels. The seniors jumped to their feet, yelling and whistling. Winners!”
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