First Chance For Children raises half-ton of used toys, books

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | 12:13 p.m. CDT; updated 12:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 8, 2009

COLUMBIA — First Chance For Children raised close to 1,000 pounds of toys and books in their first-ever drive last month – from March 2 to March 13.

“For the first time around, it was more than we expected, and we were very pleasantly surprised,” parent education coordinator Tammy Byington said.

First Chance asked for donations of used toys and books for its Lend & Learn Toy Libraries program. According to its Web site, the program provides toys and books for children that will help develop their motor and cognitive skills. The toys and books can be checked out or used at the group's two locations: 1200 Wilkes Blvd. and the J.W. "Blind" Boone Community Center, 301 N. Providence Rd.

Several book series were among the donations, including a 20-piece Dr. Seuss set. Toys donated were mostly for infants and toddlers. Byington said she was surprised to see that many of the donated items were brand new, rather than used.

The toys will be distributed to the two Lend & Learn locations, as well First Chance’s Home Visits for Stay-At-Home Parents program and local day care centers.

“I think it will be a great benefit to the children, specifically in our home visit program,” Byington said.

First Chance hopes to make the toy and book drive an annual event. Byington said they hope to better publicize the event next year after she was told by numerous individuals they wished they had known about it sooner so they could have saved items they had thrown out earlier in the year.

“We’re just really happy about how it turned out,” Byington said.

First Chance is still accepting donations, which can be dropped off at their Lend & Learn facility, located at 1200 Wilkes Blvd.

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