LAGRANGE — Toys for Tots of Lorain County has a new home for the 2018 campaign and it’s at a location where children spent hours every year: the former Keystone elementary and middle school building on Liberty Street.
According to Lorain County Toys for Tots coordinator Christy Howard, the plan came into action about three weeks ago when she learned a former storage location was no longer an option. She sent out a mass email to anyone who had either volunteered with Toys for Tots in the past or had helped in anyway.
The email landed in the inbox of Marie Strauss — Mayor Kim Strauss’ wife.
“My wife received a mass email looking for space to use,” the mayor said. “They were desperate for space.”
Strauss took the idea of using the former school to Village Council and, after it was approved, let Howard know it was available.
“I can’t think of a better use for the building,” Strauss said Tuesday afternoon after unloading several boxes of toys.
The toys were saved in a storage unit from the 2017 Toys of Tots campaign and needed to be unloaded before the 2018 donation season begins, said Lorain County Toys for Tots event coordinator Debby Schieve.
At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, volunteers from Road to Hope, along with a Keystone High School sophomore and Strauss, unloaded the toys from the storage unit into the former library inside the old school.
Stacking boxes, the men and the teenager had the storage unit unloaded within 30 minutes.
“You guys are fast,” Schieve said, laughing.
Strauss said this will be the last time Toys for Tots has to unload a storage unit full of toys and other supplies. From this year forward, LaGrange will be the hub for all campaigns, he said.
“We are going to give them a classroom in the back of the facility. That means they won’t have to use a pod, or spend money on the pod, and they can spend more money on toys,” Strauss said.
Toys collected from the 2018 Toys for Tots campaign also will be stored at the facility on Liberty Street. The toys will be distributed in December, Howard said.
Howard thanked Strauss and Village Council for allowing use of the facility.
“Finally, we’re blessed with a home for the 2018 campaign. A huge shout-out to the mayor and the council of the village of LaGrange. Thank you can’t express how grateful we are,” Howard said.
Howard said the 2018 Toys for Tots boxes will start appearing at locations throughout Lorain County at the end of October.
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