FISH holiday toy drive operating in new warehouse but filling the same need

Posted on December 1st, 2023 By:
  • The Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH food bank’s annual holiday toy drive is underway, with volunteers and donors working hard to meet a record need for Christmas gifts for kids who otherwise might not get any.

The drive is operating out of a new warehouse location, in the Latitude 47 Commerce Center on Bujacich Road. Volunteers are taking donations at the warehouse — the address is 9684 Bujacich Road Suite D — starting Friday, Dec. 1, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays after that. FISH has been accepting toy donations for weeks at its food bank at 4303 Burnham Dr. 

Registration information 

Registration is open for families who need help making this Christmas as jolly as possible.

With almost two weeks left to register, local families have already signed up to request gifts for 680 children. That’s well ahead of last year’s pace, when the food bank and its donors provided gifts for 777 children from 280 families.

Families who need Christmas presents for kids ages 17 and younger can sign up through Dec. 12 at the food bank website or in person at the food bank at 4303 Burnham Dr.

“There’s a lot of need out there,” said food bank volunteer Betsy Cheney, who has led the toy drive for more than two decades. “I’m really happy that we can provide some happiness to the kids.”

Girl Scout Troop 43564 helped unload toys donated to Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank’s annual Christmas gift drive recently. Photo courtesy FISH

Boutique shopping 

The experience will be a little different this year for families receiving gifts. 

In previous years, food bank volunteers compiled bags of appropriate gifts for kids in each of five age categories. Parents would pick one of those bags.

This year, the food bank is trying what it’s calling “boutique shopping.” Gifts will be placed on tables, grouped again by age range. Parents can pick anything from that table, allowing them to choose items tailored to their kids’ interests.

“They’re going to individually choose their toys,” Cheney said. “Which I think is really nice.” 

Families can pick up gifts Dec. 14 and 15 at the warehouse in Latitude 47. 

Volunteers sort through toys donated for the Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank’s Christmas toy drive in 2022.

How to donate 

FISH continues to accept toy donations right up until distribution begins, though volunteers prefer to get them by Dec. 12. A few ways to donate include:

  • Drop off new, unwrapped toys at the warehouse, located across Bujacich from the Washington Corrections Center for Women. The warehouse is the first building on the left when you enter Latitude 47. 
  • The Gig Harbor Lions Club’s Giving Trees are stationed at businesses around Gig Harbor. Tags on the trees provide gift ideas, which donors can purchase and return to the same business.
  • Donate during Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One’s Santa Runs, which are Dec. 11-15 at various area neighborhoods. Click here for a schedule.
  • Purchase online using an Amazon Wish List set up for the toy drive. 

Older kids need gifts, too

As usual, the drive has a special need for older kids: Those in the 9 to 12 and 13 to 17 age ranges.

The 680 kids already registered to receive gifts break down like this:  

  • Age 1 and younger: 46 kids 
  • Ages 2 through 4: 128 
  • Ages 5 through 8: 176 
  • Ages 9 through 12: 159 
  • Ages 13 through 17: 166 

Cheney said the drive annually gets plenty of gifts for kids in the younger three age ranges. Donations typically lag for the tween and teen age groups. 

She added that gift cards are a great option for older kids especially. 

Toys donated to Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH food bank’s annual toy drive begin to fill up a warehouse in the Latitude 47 complex on Bujacich Road. Photo courtesy FISH