By Grace McCarthy
Community Assistance Program (CAP) volunteers are busy getting ready for this year’s Holiday Toy Shop.
The nonprofit Blaine began accepting donations and opened registrations for its community toy store on November 1. The annual program allows families in the Blaine and Birch Bay area living on limited incomes to purchase toys for their children at the toy store in December. Families can buy toys and gift cards at around 75% off, which means $15 will buy $60 worth of gifts. Proceeds will be donated to the Bridge Community Hope Center emergency fund, Valley Church Essentials and Loads of Love.
“I love how it impacts the community by supporting different organizations, involving parents and letting them support the community with their purchases,” said CAP volunteer Laura Vogee. “He supports so many people in different sectors of the community.”
The store will remain the same as last year, with an addition of free Christmas decoration craft kits given out as stocking stuffers, Vogee said.
People can donate online through the Launching Successful Learning Store in Bellingham and Amazon wishlists. Further information is available on the CAP website. People can also buy new toys for $20-$50 such as craft and science kits, Legos, construction toys, musical toys, scooters, book sets, sleeping bags and play tents. Toys must be intended for ages 2-12, not be gift wrapped, and have the regular retail price included.
Gift cards worth $25 can be purchased for middle and high school students. Event organizers recommend Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Michaels, Happy Teen, Happy Treats, Hobby Lobby cards and combination cards from discount stores. CAP doesn’t need Old Navy or American Eagle gift cards because there are still plenty left from the 2021 store.
Cash donations can also be made on the CAP website or by postal check. Checks should be made payable to the Community Assistance Program with “Community Toy Store” in the memo line and mailed to 508 G Street in Blaine.
Toys can be dropped off at several locations in Blaine, Birch Bay and Semiahmoo, in addition to many churches expected to participate. Donations will be accepted until Friday, December 2. Below is a list of locations and what is accepted.
• Blaine Library – toys and gift cards
• Blaine Senior Center – toys and gift cards
• Pacific Building Center – toys only
• Windermere Realty, Birch Bay Square – toys and gift cards
• The Bridge Community Hope Center in Birch Bay – toys and gift cards
• Birch Bay Village Rec Center – toys and gift cards
• Semiahmoo Golf Club – toys and gift cards
• Semiahmoo Marina Cafe – toys and gift cards
• Inn at Semiahmoo – toys and gift cards
• Semiahmoo Athletic Club – toys and gift cards
Eligible families must live within Blaine School District boundaries, meet the income requirement for a free or reduced lunch, and not receive other holiday gift assistance. Families living within the Blaine School District boundaries with homeschooled or preschool children can enroll in the Toy Store as long as they meet the income requirements.
The toys will be set up in a store-like setting at Valley Church, 1733 H Street, Unit 260 at Cost Cutter Plaza. Parents will shop during designated time slots from Thursday, December 8 through Saturday, December 10, with the possibility of additional dates. Registration will be open until Sunday, November 27 online and by phone for those who cannot register online, 530/828-5195. Pre-registration is required.
CAP is a non-profit organization that serves residents of Blaine, Birch Bay, Custer and Point Roberts through Thanksgiving baskets, winter coat collection and crisis relief.
To register for CAP Community Toy Store 2022, visit blainecap.org or call 530/828-5195. More information is available on the CAP website for those who register and donate to this year’s store.