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Kiwanis Club and Trading Post bring Christmas cheer to children in Springville

A MERRY CHRISTMAS — Families were invited to store-type toy drive events during December, hosted by the Springville Kiwanis Club and the Springville Trading Post. Shown are some of the toys available to attendees at the Concord Town Hall. Photos submitted by Dave Guadagna and Wendy Cocca.
SPRINGVILLE — With Christmas right around the corner, the Springville Kiwanis Club hosted its toy drive on Dec. 8, at the Concord Town Hall.

New toy donations collected in Springville, as well as items purchased with monetary donations, were gifted, in a store-type atmosphere, to families in the community.

The proceeds from a Nov. 24 screening of “The Polar Express” at the Joylan Theatre, courtesy of owners Ted and Debby Adams, as well as items and money donated at collection sites around the area, went toward this club endeavor.

Families were invited to “shop” for toys for their children and met personal shoppers from the Kiwanis Club at the Concord Town Hall, to choose items for Christmas presents.

According to Kiwanis Vice President Dave Guadagna, 15 families from the Springville-Griffith Institute School District, including St. Aloysius Regional School and the Springville Preschool Learning Center, were serviced by the toy drive event. “We help who we can,” he said.

Parents were able to choose several items for each child. “Depending on the needs and availability, we always try to go above and beyond,” Guadagna said.

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In addition, parents were also sent home with books and a book bag for each child. The books were gathered by Guadagna, all summer, and the bags were collected from the Salvation Army by Love INC. “You don’t see parents pushing their kids to read,” Guadagna said. “These families are just trying to make sure food is on the table and clothes are on their kids’ backs. So we made sure each child had some books.”

The Kiwanis Club’s stated goal is to raise money for charitable events, focusing on the children in the area. While the club does not have a brick and mortar building, its members meet twice per month, to discuss upcoming drives and recipient ideas.

Corporate sponsors for the Christmas toy drive included State Farm Insurance of Springville, Julie’s Pizzeria, Tractor Supply, the West Valley Demonstration Project, Lamb & Webster and the Buffalo Street Community Bank location.

Guadagna also acknowledged the Springville Rite Aid employees, who donated to the Kiwanis Club’s toy drive, instead of exchanging presents amongst themselves.

Toys left over from the club’s toy drive were split between the Springville Trading Post and the Holland Kiwanis Club, which held its first toy drive, this year.

“We’re not satisfied just providing gifts for the kids in our program,” Guadagna said. “There’s a need beyond that and we wanted to do more.”

The Trading Post’s Giving Tree event was held at the Concord Town Hall on Dec. 15. Coordinator Kim Crone said that 250 children were serviced by this outreach, this year. Gifts for the Giving Tree were provided by local individuals and businesses. Many corporations, including a group at the University at Buffalo, collected and stuffed stockings, for the drive. Presents from the Kiwanis Club’s toy drive supplemented the Trading Post’s endeavor.

Crone said that volunteers from the Springville Crossing Church were the “manpower” behind the Giving Tree’s shopping day events. Families were given appointment times, in which to shop, and volunteers assisted as personal shoppers and gift-wrappers.

Trading Post workers continued to distribute presents into the middle of last week and Crone said that she needed to travel to the Salvation Army’s warehouse to obtain additional gifts.

“We try to look out for families who need extra,” she said. “A lot of people really need encouragement, this time of year.”

For more information about the Springville Trading Post, call 592-4455. For more information about the Kiwanis Club and its activities, visit sprngvll.tripod.com.
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