This holiday season, the Maui Ocean Center will be a collection center for a toy drive that benefits Maui’s at-risk youth. The Ocean Center is teaming with Maui Pride, Maui United Way, Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, and numerous other non-profits to help make Christmas merrier for Maui kids of all ages.
“We are very grateful for the hard work and dedication demonstrated year after year by Maui’s nonprofit community,” said Elyse Ditzel, Maui Ocean Center’s Director of Marketing, “Every toy donated will be an opportunity to brighten a child’s holiday. We are honored to partner with these organizations and excited to be a part of this annual program.”
Maui Pride will wrap up the charitable campaign with a Holiday Toy Drive Rainbow Dine-Out featuring live music by The Deborah Vial Band; the Dine-Out is set for Dec. 5 at the aquarium’s Seascape Restaurant. “This is a great opportunity to support the Pride community while paying it forward to the keiki in out community,” said a Pride spokesperson.
The Ocean Center placed donation bins at the park entrance on Nov. 19 and they will remain through Dec. 5; last year, the toy drive presented gifts to more than 2,000 children. The collection bins are accessible from 9am-4pm. Donations of unopened, new gifts will be accepted including toys, games, sports gear, school supplies, and items appropriate for children and teenagers.
Organizers would like to remind the public that teens are often overlooked during toy drives; gifts for all ages are encouraged. “My favorite gifts for toy drives are arts and crafts sets,” said the Pride spokesperson. “They are suitable for all genders and they provide a creative outlet that I think is important for kids in need.”
Pride, United Way and Friends will distribute the gifts through a number of non-profits to help reach a a maximum number of children who are victims of abuse, neglect, economic hardship and other conditions.
There is no cost to register for the dinner celebration, but attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped gift to donate. The Dine-Out begins at 6:30 pm; reservations are available online at Mauipride.org. For more information, call 808-270-7000 or email [email protected]
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