Wonderland Toy Store seeks volunteers, donations

Marion Gathright, left, joins volunteers as they wrap Christmas presents in 2017 during the annual Wonderland Toy Store event.

BENTON HARBOR — Mosaic in Benton Harbor needs volunteers and donations of toys and money to make its eighth annual Wonderland Toy Store special this year.

Project Manager Constance Adams said the invitation-only event allows parents in financial need to buy new gifts at 10 percent of their retail value.

Parents can choose up to three gifts for each of their children. Parents with children over 12 can choose to buy gift cards of up to $50 in value, again at 10 percent of their retail cost.

She said that last year, parents chose more than 1,800 gifts and $8,500 in gift cards for their children. 

“This helps alleviate some of the frustrations families have when deciding – do I pay my light bill this month or do I buy my kids some toys for Christmas,” said Adams, who has assisted with the toy store for the past seven years. This is the first year she is in charge.

Adams said 400 invitations were sent out this year, with each family having one to nine children.

“This provides families with the dignity to purchase items and to choose their own gifts for their children,” she said. 

But it only works if the toy store receives enough donations and volunteers. 

To sign up to volunteer, go to https://www.volunteersignup.org/MF9M8. This year, the event will be Dec. 19-21 at First Church of God Benton Heights Campus, 990 N. Euclid Ave., Benton Harbor.

Adams said there are several teams of volunteers needed to put the event together, including people to decorate the space in the church the night before “to turn it into a Christmas wonderland.” Beforehand, she said they also need people to prepare the toys by putting prices on them and sorting them.

During the event, she said they need personal shoppers, greeters, gift wrappers and cashiers.

Afterwards, volunteers are needed to tear down the event.

Toys can be dropped off at donation boxes in several locations, including at First Church of God in St. Joseph, Overflow Church in Benton Township, Roger’s Foodland in Royalton Township and the Chocolate Cafe in St. Joseph. Only new, unwrapped toys still in their packages will be accepted.

Gifts marked for the Wonderland Toy Store can also be dropped off at Mosaic Resale & Resource Center, 38 W. Wall St., Benton Harbor.

Money can be donated by going to www.mosaicccda.com and clicking on the “Give Now” or “Donate” button and putting “Wonderland Toy Store” after “Designated to.”

For more information, Adams can be reached at cadams@mosaicccda.com.  

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege