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Parents and children line up for Christmas gifts in downtown Olympia

Family Support Center of South Sound held its annual toy distribution event Thursday at 201 Capitol Way N. More than 100 people lined up before the doors opened at 9 a.m.
Family Support Center of South Sound held its annual toy distribution event Thursday at 201 Capitol Way N. More than 100 people lined up before the doors opened at 9 a.m. The Olympian

From toys and toiletries to coats and bikes, the Family Support Center of South Sound has made the holidays a little brighter for more than 1,000 local children this season.

A line with more than 100 people wrapped around the charity’s building Thursday morning at 201 Capitol Way N. in downtown Olympia for an annual Santa’s Workshop toy giveaway. Some folks lined up as early as 6:30 a.m. in the chilly weather — 2 hours and 30 minutes before the doors opened.

Once inside, parents picked out new toys and stocking stuffers, along with essential hygiene items and cold-weather clothing. About 30 volunteers were on hand.

When the toys run out, the center has an estimated $10,000 worth of gift cards to give away, said Schelli Slaughter, executive director.

Organizers estimated that Thursday’s event helped 145 families. That number includes 551 children who received gifts. The center reports it had already served 200 families — including 519 children and 318 parents — through a holiday adoption effort in collaboration with local businesses, churches and residents.

Congressman Denny Heck, D-Olympia, entertained children by reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” while the parents shopped.

“This is really intended for people who didn’t get adopted somewhere else,” Slaughter said of Thursday’s event. “This is a chance to get a little extra help right before Christmas.”

Among the community donors was the MIXX 96-FM radio station, which contributed 27 new bikes with helmets to the effort following a toy drive Tuesday. The station also contributed $10,000 worth of gift cards, which will be distributed among all agencies that are part of a coalition called The Holiday Connection, which matches families with the services they need.

Participating agencies include the Family Support Center, Behavioral Health Resources, Community Youth Services, Evergreen Vista, Senior Services of South Sound, YMCA Children’s Services and the Thurston County Food Bank.

How to help

To learn more or donate, visit www.fscss.org or call 360-754-9297.

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