Pictured above: Sitka American Legion Post 13 members with the toy drive box at AC Lakeside with Vince Winter, Store Manager.
Community members in Sitka, AK, joined forces to bring the magic of Christmas to less fortunate children in the community this December – but it almost didn’t happen.
When they were told that the traditional Marine Toys for Tot program would not be held this year due to the current pandemic, the American Legion Post 13 and our Alaska Commercial Company (AC Lakeside) team in Sitka, AK didn’t let the news affect their Christmas spirit. Instead, it drove their ability to get creative and adapt.
Immediately, the two groups came together and began working with community leaders, Sitka Bottling, Sitka Fire Department and non-profit organizations to put together a toy drive to continue bringing the magic of Christmas to the community.
Toys were collected for more than two weeks with the cooperation of Sitka Fire Department (through the Giving Tree initiative, where trees were adorned with each child’s age and gender) and the American Legion Post 13, which was in charge of collecting toys for children from 12 years old and younger.
AC Lakeside and Sitka Bottling also put out a toy drive box, hosted by the American Legion Post 13. In addition, AC Lakeside provided a 25% discount on toys, assisted with wrapping paper and helped the American Legion pack the gifts. AC Lakeside Store Manager Vince Winter wanted to make sure every child would receive a gift this Christmas.
“It has been a rollercoaster since the Coronavirus has hit us here in Sitka. The only good thing that comes out of a crisis like this is the good that comes out of human nature – one person helping another. By partnering with our community leaders and non-profits and working together for the common good, it is clear that we are all in this together and we are here to lift each other up whenever possible,” said Winter.
Thanks to the promotion provided by the radio stations KIFW and Mix 103 and the support of the Sitka community members, the toy drive was a huge success. The children received their Christmas presents on December 21 via socially distanced visits with Santa. People who signed up for a pick up drove to the back door where Santa and Mrs. Claus were happily handing over the Christmas presents.