5th annual Pick & Treat for Tots Drive has begun

Staff members of Century 21 Alliance Group are helping to gather donations for the fifth annual Pick & Treat for Tots Drive. Donations benefit The Tot Shop, one of the programs of the Family & Youth Services Bureau.

The annual Pick & Treat for Tots drive, to benefit the Family & Youth Services Bureau’s Tot Shop, will be held through Oct. 31, and is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank. The Tot Shop is an incentive-based program where young parents can shop for needed baby and toddler supplies. However, the items are not given away and they can’t be purchased with money.

Parents must earn coupons by going to doctor visits, checkups for their kids, getting immunizations, attending parenting classes and nutrition workshops — doing things that educate them to be better parents. Then they receive coupons after attending these activities and exchange their coupons for needed supplies like clothing, beds and books. Over 1,500 local families used The Tot Shop in the past year.

Area residents can participate in this drive by dropping off their donations to any BMO Harris Bank branch in Chesterton, Portage or Valparaiso. Other area businesses that will have drop-off containers are Thorgren Tool and Molding, Task Force Tips and Century 21 Alliance Group, all in Valparaiso.

Also, community members can hold a “baby shower” with their office colleagues, church, neighborhood group or organization during the month of October. After the shower, items can be delivered to the FYSB office at 253 W. Lincolnway in Valparaiso, or call 219-464-9585 to have items picked up.

Items needed for babies and toddlers at this time are girls’ winter clothing in sizes newborn and 6-9 months; boys’ winter clothing in sizes 18-24 months; boys' receiving blankets; unisex boppy pillows; wooden puzzles; educational/developmental toys and plastic building blocks.

Because of hygiene concerns, The Tot Shop only accepts new items. Donors are requested to please leave price tag on items donated, it will help determine value.

Monetary donations are especially appreciated and needed at this time, to help pay for any items that are not donated.

For more information about Pick & Treat for Tots, contact Jackie Gray at 219-464-9585 or jgray@fysb.org.

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