DENVER (CBS4) – The Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive is collecting 8,000 new, unwrapped toys for children who go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. The University of Denver Athletics and Recreation Department has been a long time partner of the Toy Drive, and this year is no different.

“We are having a Shop and Drop Saturday, December 5th, to collect new, unwrapped toys. Those who want to participate can drive up to the circle at the Ritchie Center between 9 and noon, and just drop off what you have. I know it’s kind of been a roller coaster this pandemic, so anything that you can provide would definitely be helpful,” said Doshia Woods, Head Coach of the Women’s Basketball team at DU.

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The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver serves thousands of children throughout the Denver Metro Area. There are more than 20 clubs offering after-school care, hot meals, and support to children ages 6 to 18.

“The pandemic is one of the few things that has impacted all of us regardless of where you fall on the spectrum. And those of us who are capable and able to give a little bit more this season to those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, I think it’s important,” Woods told CBS4. “It’s important for the kids to get toys, but I think for the parents too, to be able to see a smile on their child’s face that they were not able to provide because of the pandemic.”

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It’s been a long, hard year for everyone, but many of the families that the Boys & Girls Clubs serve have been among the hardest hit groups, higher rates of infection, higher rates of death, loss of jobs, and home and food insecurity. For these families getting a toy this Christmas could be the kindness that carries them through.

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“I think back to my own time growing up. And I definitely would have been one of those kids on the receiving end, for sure, not in a pandemic, but just from other financial hardships. And definitely, I remember this time of year being really exciting because I knew there were organizations like this that provided for me and my family, so I can relate to how the kids are feeling. I think it is important to continue to provide that if you are able,” Woods said.

LINK: Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive

The DU Shop ‘n Drop Collection is Saturday, December 5th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the circle drive outside of the Ritchie Center.

Libby Smith