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Stuff the Bus Toys to Help Fill Holiday Baskets
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Friday, December 1, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

On Saturday, Wood River Valley residents are invited to Stuff the Bus with toys for kids—a tradition revived this year after a five-year hiatus by Eye on Sun Valley.

Volunteers from the Wood River High School Key Club service organization, Sun Valley Realtors Give, Blaine County Transportation, Catholic Confimation Kids, and Eye on Sun Valley will be on-hand to collect unwrapped new toys from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Albertsons in Hailey and at the Toy Store in downtown Ketchum.

The Toy Store is offering a 20 percent discount on toys bought for the drive.

The toy drive is designed to provide Christmas cheer for about 400 gift baskets accommodating 900 youth whose families will be the recipients of the Sun Valley Realtors Give/Holiday Baskets drive. And it’s especially needed this year since there was no motorcycle toy run earlier in the fall, said Cathy Nikolaisons, Executive Director of Sun Valley Realtors Give.

Eye on Sun Valley is partnering with Sun Valley Realtors Give on the toy drive. The toys that are collected Saturday will become part of the holiday gift baskets that realtors are assembling at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Hot toys this year include Barbie dolls and cars, Spiderman action figures, Jurassic World dinosaurs, Coco Milan musical keyboards, National Geographic science magic kits, Lego Star Wars, doodle maker craft boxes, Play-doh and musical bongo sets.

Volunteers with Sun Valley Realtors Give have established Santa Central as the Community Campus where they have hundreds of blankets; knit hats; pajamas, which are apparently the hot item for teens this year, and books for all ages in English and Spanish.

Local dentists have donated toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. And 5 Bee Quilters have created potholders for the baskets.

This week realtors will pull from each of the piles to create holiday baskets based on the number of people in each family and the ages of the children.

On Friday and Saturday, Dec.8-9, families will come to the campus to pick up their baskets. Webb Nursery has donated Christmas trees to set the stage and Catholic youth will decorate the walls.

“Different families cook different things based on their culture so we’re giving families Atkinsons gift cards so they can buy the food that suits their holiday dinner,” said Nikolaisons. “Atkinsons gave us deep discounts. And we’ll match any book donation made at Chapter One Bookstore and Iconoclast Books.

“It’s amazing how people come out of the woodwork to help,” added Sheila Liermann, president of Sun Valley Realtors Give. “It’s our community coming together.”

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