Toy store could bring joy to 53 children

Organization hopes to promote self-sufficiency, coordinator says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn organization working to make the lives of domestic violence and sexual assault victims more stable is hoping to help spread some Christmas cheer to 53 children this year. PEACE for Families is hosting a toy store for the children of its clients. Various Placer County community groups and individuals donated the toys, which fill about five tables in the store, according to Amanda Kodet, community affairs associate for PEACE for Families. Thirty-five mothers are scheduled to “buy” two toys for each of their children with vouchers provided by the organization. Around 53 children will benefit from this toy store, Kodet said. Heather Bullis-Cruz, training and education coordinator for PEACE, said the goal of the store is to help the mothers make their own decisions. “We are about empowering our women to be self-sufficient and take control of their lives,” Bullis-Cruz said. “Instead of having someone purchase a toy for their child, we thought they could choose a toy.” The toys are more special, because they are from the mothers, not from the agency, Kodet said. Anyone interested in donating new toys or money to the store can call the Auburn PEACE for Families administrative office at (530) 823-6224. The organization is keeping the store’s location confidential for the safety of their clients. Kodet said the organization is grateful to the community for how much it has already donated. “That’s been the best thing about this is the outpouring from the community,” she said. Kodet said there is a constant need for toys, because the mothers who work with the agency usually can’t afford them, and there are holidays and birthdays throughout the year. “A lot of our safe-house clients show up with only the clothes on their backs,” Kodet said. Bullis-Cruz said the organization also appreciates donations of wrapping paper or gift bags the mothers can use to for their children’s presents. Kodet said PEACE for Families staff plan to have a child care night this week so their clients can all get together for a wrapping party, and the mothers were scheduled to begin their “shopping” Monday afternoon. “They are excited,” Bullis-Cruz said. “I have heard they are very excited to come and pick out the toys.” Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------- PEACE for Families toy store donations Donations: The organization appreciates donations of toys, wrapping paper and money. For information on how to donate: Call (530) 823-6224