Ginger Buck and her daughter, Miranda (11), select a name from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree at Mendenhall Mall on Dec. 11. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

‘Juneau is always very generous’: Toy drives underway

Opportunities to share holiday cheer abound.

This month, Juneauites have many opportunities to share holiday cheer with youths through community drop boxes that help supply local toy drives.

“Juneau is always very generous. People are always very thoughtful making sure kids in need get everything,” said Sandra Mulkey, community care licensing specialist at the state’s Department of Social Services, Office of Children Services and organizer of a toy drive for foster children throughout Southeast Alaska.

She said her office is collecting toys for children between birth and 19 at the Mendenhall Mall, Nugget Mall and the office of children’s services, next to Nugget Alaska Outfitters in the Mendenhall Mall, through Dec. 17.

Mulkey said new, unwrapped toys, crafts, games and books are always in demand. She said gift cards are also popular, especially for Old Navy and Fred Meyer stores. Movie passes and Amazon gift cards are perennially popular, she said.

Kathy Buell is organizing the 24th annual Great Alaskan Toy Drive, which collects toys to add to Mulkey’s efforts and other local organizations, including the AWARE shelter, the Helping Hands Food Bank, and Society of St. Vincent de Paul Juneau.

[Home seeks slippers and socks for seniors]

“They do their best to make sure every client has a toy,” Buell said of local partners.

Buell said that collection efforts so far are on par with prior years and that the collection will continue until Dec. 21.

“We’ve had some different and outside of the box requests from teens this year,” said, citing requests for LED light strips that are currently popular with teens as a way to light their rooms.

Several toy drives are underway this holiday season. A Christmas tree at the Mendenhall Mall includes ornaments that help guide shoppers who want to purchase toys for donation. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Several toy drives are underway this holiday season. A Christmas tree at the Mendenhall Mall includes ornaments that help guide shoppers who want to purchase toys for donation. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

She said other requests include a full-size easel and art supplies and that sleds and outdoor gear like sleeping bags and small tents are also frequently requested items.

[NYE concert to benefits Helping Hands Food Bank]

Buell said that the group’s Facebook page has a complete list of drop locations, including many local businesses and gift ideas. She said people with questions could call her at (907) 523- 1099.

In addition, the Salvation Army is also hosting Angel Trees throughout the community. According to the organization’s website, the “Angel Tree is a holiday assistance program in which an individual sponsor or group sponsor purchases new clothing and toys for deserving children (or “Angels”) in need.”

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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