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Not too early for Community Christmas Toy Store

September 04, 2013 - Ortonville- The kids went back to school this week and while looking for school supplies, shoppers may have noticed that stores are stocking shelves with Christmas items.

While many may cry foul on what they consider a too early start to the season, Linda Mizejewski knows Christmas will be here very soon. The new president of the Community Christmas Toy Store hopes that an early start to the non-profit organization's toy drive will benefit children.

"If you're out and see a bargain on a toy or a 'buy one, get one free,' or 'buy one, get one 50 percent off,' please think of us and children who are in need this Christmas."

Low-income families in the Brandon School District sign up at the OCEF Thanksgiving food distribution to receive assistance from the Community Christmas Toy Store in providing gifts for their children. Last year, CCTS helped 283 children find toys under the Christmas tree.

CCTS tries to provide one large gift and perhaps a couple smaller gifts for children ages newborn to 12-years-old. The community makes it possible by donating toys, books, board games and more. Donations of hats, gloves, and mittens are also welcome, as well as pillows to fill the fun, colorful pillowcases donated by Mabelena's.

"People have been very generous," said Mizejewski. "We've had a lot of support from the public and businesses...When people hear Christmas and kids, they tend to think of younger kids. Toddlers and young children tend to be easier to buy for, but toys for 9 to 12-year-old boys are always in short supply."

The CCTS will have a booth at Septemberfest, Sept. 28 in downtown Ortonville, at which toys will be gladly accepted. Cash jars can be seen at businesses around town Nov. 1, and donation boxes will be out Nov. 14. Toy donations will also be accepted at any time at Brandon Fire Station #1, 53 South St.; Brandon Fire Station #2, 3065 S. Sashabaw Road; or at any local church, including the one that hosts CCTS, St. Anne Church, 825 S. Ortonville Road.

"Christmas is not that far away," said Mizejewski. "Get your kids involved, take them shopping and have them pick out a toy for someone not as fortunate. Children have good ideas for other kids. It teaches them more what Christmas is about— about the giving and not just the getting."

CCTS is also looking for volunteers for the December distribution.

"If you really want to be in the Christmas mood and spirit, donate your time, and it gives you such a good feeling to help others who aren't as fortunate," she said. "Put it on your calendars now, we need a lot of help setting up."

For more information, call Linda Mizejewski at 248-627-2641 or Sandy Purgiel, CCTS vice-president, at 248-627-4673.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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