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Holiday drives wrapping up

There still are opportunities to give toys, food for needy families

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For more information about Toys for Tots, call local organizer Teri Wall at 879-6184, or e-mail

— Holiday toy and food drives are coming to a close across Routt County, but that doesn't mean donations aren't still needed.

The Toys for Tots drive, organized locally by Routt County United Way and the Steam­­boat Homebuilders Association, con­­­­tinues to seek donations of unused, unwrapped toys.

Organizer Teri Wall said gifts will be accepted at drop-off locations until Sunday. There are numerous locations throughout the county. Call Wall at 879-6184 for a list of participating locations.

Toys will be accepted at Bud Werner Memorial Library through Wednesday. The toys will be distributed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Toys for Tots organizers also are looking for volunteers to help with the distribution.

Wall said anybody who wants to pick up toys first must sign up through Routt County United Way. More than 220 families have signed up, she said.

Pam Graham, food bank manager with LIFT-UP of Routt County, said food drives have deposited bundles of food in the pantries, but one item is still needed: toilet paper.

LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said the organization doesn't do anything differently for the holidays but still is experiencing a high demand.

This year, LIFT-UP's food bank has distributed an average of 48 bags of food per day. Each recipient household is limited to two bags of food per quarter.

LIFT-UP also has averaged a little more than six rental assistance distributions per week.

LIFT-UP is not focusing on toys, however, and is not accepting used toy donations.

Freseman said LIFT-UP doesn't have the time or staffing to distribute toys, and it's not a part of LIFT-UP's mission.

Greg Merschel, Toys for Tots organizer for eight Western Slope counties including Routt, said Toys for Tots will accept slightly used sporting equipment such as basketballs or bicycles, but he otherwise requests that toys are new and in their original packaging.

"We want them to have the same kind of dignity we would hope to get," he said.