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Toy drive kicks off in Hamburg

HAMBURG — The Hamburg Youth Bureau, in conjunction with the Western New York Holiday Partnership and Marine Corp Toys for Tots Program, will participate as an application and distribution site for families in need, throughout the Christmas season.

New, unwrapped toys are being accepted for children 12 and younger. Dropoff sites include Jimmies Pizza, located at 43 Buffalo St. in the village of Hamburg; the youth bureau in its new home at the town of Hamburg Senior Community Building, located at 4540 Southwestern Blvd.; the town of Hamburg Recreation Center, located at 2982 Lakeview Road and the Hamburg Town Hall, located at 6100 S. Park Ave. in Hamburg.

The drive will begin on Nov. 25 and will continue until the toys are distributed.

“We want to support the community,” said Jimmy Butera, the owner of Jimmies Pizza. “My 6-year-old twins, Damian and Bryce, had a great time helping us last year collecting the toys.” Butera added that he looks forward to greeting friends and customers who drop off the toys.

“The Southtowns Builders Association also collects toys for us at their annual Christmas Party,” said Nicole Dayka, a youthful offender consultant for the youth bureau and coordinator of the program.

The Southtowns Builders Association consists of local businesses who have a stated goal of returning to the community that they work in, according to spokesperson Victoria Weixlmann. “Many of the members also volunteer in fire departments and many other community organizations that help support the needs of the community,” she said. “We offer small businesses an avenue to meet other businesses for support and networking opportunities. We also offer our members discounts on advertising and marketing events.”

After participating in toy drives for a number of years, town organizers looked for assistance from the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, seven years ago.

Applicants for the toy program are required to apply in person on weekdays, at the youth bureau, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Dec. 2 – 11. The hours on Dec. 4 will be extended to 5 p.m. To qualify, applicants must have proof of residency and income for the past 30 days, photo identification and Social Security cards for all household members.

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