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‘Tis the season of giving

Marine Corps makes generous toy donation to local charity

By Josephine Hinderman

Contributing Writer

DE PERE – With the holidays upon us, local low-income families may find themselves struggling to obtain affordable gifts this Christmas.

Ginger France
Ginger France is in her first year volunteering with the Christmas store. Josephine Hinderman photo

The De Pere Christian Outreach Christmas Store – an organization that partners with Unified De Pere Schools, West De Pere Schools, the De Pere Christian Outreach and several other local businesses to provide toys, gifts, household items and much more at immensely low prices to families in need – received over $20,000 this holiday season from Marine Corps Toys for Tots Green Bay.

The funds were used to obtain 40 carts worth of toys from a local store. Staff Sergeant Cody Rehders was involved in purchasing the toys.

“I think it’s a big deal [to donate] because I have been on deployments where I’m away from my family for Christmas and the holidays, and think it’s really impactful to purchase, and donate, toys for the local community, and to give them out to kids who would not be able to experience that with their families,” Rehders said.

Melanie Brick, a social worker with the De Pere School District, said the Christmas Store looked a lot different the past couple of years, due to COVID-19.

“During the pandemic, we were only able to give gift cards,” Brick said. “But the gift cards don’t go as far as coming here and buying things for a quarter.”

The toys available range from $0.50 action figures, toddler toys and backpacks to $1 Barbie doll sets, Lego sets and Matchbox cars.

Marines Toys for Tots
From left, Cpl. Kiara Thomas, Sgt. Ian Schisel and SSgt. Cody Rehders take a break from duties to pose for a photo. Josephine Hinderman photo

“With having a little one of my own,” Sgt. Ian Schisel, working with Toys for Tots Green Bay, added, “it means a lot to be able to give to other families and to have them experience seeing their kids’ faces light up.”

Brick added that there are other ways to help local disadvantaged families.

Hands Across De Pere, a fundraiser held in August at the Swan Club in De Pere, raises money to support low-income/at-risk families in the area.

The Christian Outreach also accepts year-round monetary and object donations.

The Christmas Store is open in First United Presbyterian Church located at 605 N. Webster Ave.. De Pere.

For more information on the program, contact the De Pere Christian Outreach thrift store by calling (920) 339-1060 or visiting the 506 Butler Street location.

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