Serving the community since 1970

Toys for Tigers more than just toys

Since 2002, Wasco Toys for Tigers has brought holiday cheer to children and their families. They give out almost 750 toys yearly and provide food baskets to those in need. But that's not all they do.

"Our goal is to spread holiday cheer for as many kids as possible," said Treasurer Pat Ketcherside. "Every family deserves to have a special Christmas. It is a special time of the year, and we try to make that happen."

Children up to 12 receive a toy appropriate for their age. The program spends anywhere from $25 to $30 for each toy.

They also give the family a board game, anda ball for their older kids.

"We do this to encourage family time and to stay active," Kecherside said.

The organization recently partnered with the Wasco Recreation and Parks District to put on the first One Nation Celebration bike ride, providing a hot dog lunch for participants of the event.

At Halloween, they also participate in the Trunk or Treat, where they distribute candy to the kids.

In the past, they also organize giveaways to those in need.

"Depending on how much money we raise, we like to give out socks," said President Donna Ward. "We have worked with local schools to collect them."

"Also, we have given out blankets," she said.

This year, instead of a food basket, they will provide families with a $50 gift card for holiday meals.

"It allows each family to buy what they need. They can't use it for anything else other than the essentials," Ketcherside said.

A core team of about 15 people works hard all year to help realize all of their projects, raising funds to support the organization's initiatives.

One of their biggest fundraisers takes place in November with a barbecue chicken takeout dinner.

"It is always a sellout. It is an excellent dinner, and we send out letters asking for donations," said Ketcherside. "We have the best chicken barbecuers around."

For their toy giveaway, they especially rely on many community support. "We'll take anyone that wants to volunteer. We are more than happy to have them," she said.

Both Ketcherside and Ward describe the joy they feel knowing that they are helping so many kids and families.

"It is always a good feeling when you are able to help someone else," Ketcherside said.

"It's just our time to give back to our community," Ward added.

Ketcherside said it is a team effort that they rely on.

"It truly involves a lot of people from the town of Wasco that makes it possible. So many people give us money to support our cause."

For more information on how you can make a tax-deductible donation or serve as a volunteer, call Ward at 661-549-0700.


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