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Published: Wednesday, 3/26/2014

Levis Commons, local business distribute donated toys

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo police officer Leon Cavanaugh loads tours into a police van. Toledo police officer Leon Cavanaugh loads tours into a police van.
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Sorted toys at the Play it Forward Used Toy Drive. Sorted toys at the Play it Forward Used Toy Drive.
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Two 30-foot box trucks full of toys donated nearly two months ago at the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg have been cleaned up, sorted, and distributed to families in need.

Levis Commons teamed up with the Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup for the fifth annual Play if Forward Used Toy Drive. Snow this winter delayed the donation day, which came Feb. 1, and then the giveaway.

Thousands of donated items were given away on Tuesday, including toys, books, stuffed animals, movies, and more. They had filled a storage area at Cousino Harris off of Eckel Road. The Toledo Police picked up toys for the Children Service Board and other agencies.

In years past, the drive donated the items to schools, shelters, or at an event at the Wayman Palmer YMCA. 

"Kids that needed it the most were not able to get it all the time," said Casey Pogan, marketing director for the Town Center at Levis Commons. "It is taking the toys out of landfills and going to kids that may not have had a Christmas."

Ms. Pogan said the idea came up years ago when she and a coworker talked about how easy it is for some families to accumulate toys.

Perrysburg student council members from left Zach Ibarra, Abby Loehrke and Abby Newman volunteer to put together small toy parts. Perrysburg student council members from left Zach Ibarra, Abby Loehrke and Abby Newman volunteer to put together small toy parts.
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She said Shelly Konz, business development leader for Cousino Harris, and Perrysburg High School volunteers were "instrumental" in cleaning the toys and preparing them for the giveaway. Perrysburg High student council and the honors society also helped.

"Its incredible," Ms. Konz said about how much people donate for others. "Some older people even buy new toys to contribute, that is very sweet."

All the toys are washed and properly cleaned. Ms. Konz said the stuffed animals go through a special washer that cleans the sewage and bacteria. It makes the stuffed animals cleaner than food-graded sanitation, she said.

During the donation day, some parents bring their children to teach them about giving to others who are less fortunate.

Agencies picking up donations included: Aurora House, Double Arc, East Toledo Family Center, Family House, Federick Douglass Center, LaPlacena, Mom's House, Polly Fox Academy, Beach House, Bethany House, Children Service Board, Toledo Day Nursery, Toledo Rescue Mission Rebekah's House, and Wayman Palmer YMCA.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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