DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver for the Care 4 Colorado Toy Drive. The drive collects new toys and distributes them to kids at the clubs.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver has 12,000 members, providing mostly after school and summer time programming. The clubs provide a safe place for kids to play, offer homework help, serve a hot meal, and give kids a chance to play sports.

“The programming is expanding and it is very comprehensive. We provide resources in character and leadership development and health and life skills, education, the arts, technology, and sports and fitness. Most recently this year we’ve expanded our health offerings a great deal and added staff and added programming to help our kids really understand how they can make good choices as they grow older,” said John Arigoni, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

On average kids stay at the club 3-4 hours a day. 89-percent of the kids that the clubs serve qualify for free or reduced lunches at school.

“Well for our parents that were in trouble before the recession hit, it’s only gotten worse and as you know many of the families that we serve are middle income/low income families so for those that have employment it’s been tough and for those seeking employment it’s been even tougher,” Arigoni told CBS4.

At Christmas time, many of the families served by the clubs can’t afford extras like presents. The gift the kids get at the club are the only toy they’ll get for Christmas.

“Toys, unlike anything else, give our young people an opportunity to escape and to have fun and to create a world of joy and excitement for themselves,” Arigoni added.

The clubs serve kids ages 6 to 18. The Care 4 Colorado Campaign collects new toys for kids of that age range, including games, books, electronics, and gift cards. Some of the older kids like to buy their own gifts. The toys that are not handed out during the Christmas parties are used throughout the year as incentives to reward good behavior and success in school.

“It just takes one person to take action to really improve the life of a child. It just takes one person to reach out and help someone who is deserving and less fortunate,” Arigoni said.

Care 4 Colorado Collection bins are in participating King Soopers stores through December 24th.

–Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith