The community has been generous as it has provided donations of toys and gifts for the annual FISH toy drive. The stories of the recipients and the experiences of the volunteers provide a glimpse into the wonders that such gracious giving provides.
As a thanks to all who participate, these stories illustrate the good that is being done in Gig Harbor.
One gentleman hoped to find something for his son for Christmas. The man was at a loss of words when he was asked what his son enjoyed. As he thought about the issue, a volunteer gazed about the gift center and felt a tug to a wonderful 10-speed bike with a helmet.
“Does your son like to ride?” the volunteer asked.
“Oh, yes,” the man answered. “He borrows the neighbor’s bike sometimes.”
The volunteer took his arm and walked over to the bike in the corner.
“How about this?” she asked.
The man was speechless, overwhelmed and awestruck, and he initially declined the gift as being too much to receive.
The volunteer encouraged him to accept the kindness as a measure of hope for the future. They both felt a sense of wonder and grace as the bike left the shop with a big bow.
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A young, single, unemployed mother with four children came to gift center. She was doing odd jobs to support her family. She’d just completed a job and was paid in cash.
That same day, she was robbed at gunpoint and beaten up. As the volunteer brought the woman into the center to shop for her children, she was crying and couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the generosity and support FISH had shown her.
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Another volunteer recalled a grandmother who came in lieu of parents to shop for her grandkids. She said her family had never needed such help before, and she was new to the process.
The volunteer and grandmother walked to a table of packaged toys, and the volunteer told the woman to choose three sets.
“She stopped and started to cry, overwhelmed by the generosity of our community,” the volunteer said.
They went to the next area, and the same offer was given. The grandmother shed more tears of thanks.
The grandmother shared some of the personal details of loss and struggles that had beset her family as she explained just what a difference the gifts would make for the kids at home. She gave the volunteer a hug and wished the team a merry Christmas as she left with stocking stuffers, new books and stuffed animals.
“This sweet lady is why I help run the toy drive,” the volunteer said.
As several volunteers reported, these are the kinds of memories they take away from the remarkable experience of assisting in the toy drive.
“Little do the clients know what gifts they give to us,” a volunteer said.
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The volunteer team for the FISH toy drive blessed more than 500 needy children last year. To volunteer for this year’s program, call 253-851-8800.