Generous donors make Parkrose toy drive a big success

INCLUDES VIDEO VIGNETTE | What was the result of the ‘The Fantastical Parkrose Toy Drive & Giveaway’, recently held in outer East Portland? Lots of smiles for kids – and tears of joy from their grateful parents …

Protected from the rain under several large canopies, families receive toys sure to delight their children, at the distribution event of The Fantastical Parkrose Toy Drive & Giveaway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

As promised, volunteers held the distribution of The Fantastical Parkrose Toy Drive & Giveaway on Sunday afternoon, December 19.

The deluge of rain didn’t stop the hearty volunteers, led by Terry Murphy, from setting up tables laden with all kinds of toys, games, books, and clothing, in the parking area in front of the Argay Square office building.

>> To see how this generous venture began, CLICK HERE to read “Parkrose volunteers mount giant toy drive”.

Taking another photo of a family posing with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus with their cell phone, is event organizer Terry Murphy.

During the four-hour toy distribution, this volunteer effort made it a brighter, and more “Merry Christmas” for more than 50 families, Murphy exclaimed.

But, the charitable benevolence didn’t end that afternoon.

“We had hundreds of toys donated; so many, in fact, that after we gave away freely for four hours, we still had more than we could give away,” Murphy told East Portland News.

“We’re still putting our extra toys and books together for the Morrison Center Child & Family Services organization, very nearby at 11035 NE Sandy Boulevard; and for a local Girl Scout troop to share.”

Norwest Engineering “Cap’n Fun” (also known to dabble in human relations and accounting) Tina Salatto, and organizer Terry Murphy spend a moment with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

We’re the Del Nigro family; and this is melting my heart,” says the mom after having their photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. “We were not able to sign up for any help; and it’s been one of the toughest years for us. I’m a widow and a single mom, and my son turns eight on Christmas Day. So, I’m just warmed all over by how generous people are.”

However, Murphy made clear, this project wasn’t a solo effort on his part. “We always have great volunteers; with this project eight ‘core volunteers’ regularly helped us out, as well as many more who stopped by to pitch in.
“For example, a donor volunteered to recruit their neighbor, ‘Santa and Mrs. Claus’, to come! This is the sort of magical serendipity that happens when our community comes together.”

To get an idea of what the Toy Distribution was like,
watch our Video Vignette, below:

New alliance with Parkrose Business Association
New this year was the support the project received from the Parkrose Business Association (PBA). “What PBA brings is a shared belief that the best way to lift up our Parkrose community is to include everyone who makes up our community, both in our thinking and in our solutions,” Murphy said.

Setting out new toys are PBA President William Keller CPA, and PBA Past President Angie Jenkins of Hookset Automotive & Tires.

“With the Parkrose Business Association embarking on a ‘revitalized mission’ in our community, we’re so happy to be a part of it.  We will be announcing initiatives for 2022 shortly, and we’ll be asking community members to get involved in helping those initiatives to be realized and successful.

“This project was the first in a partnership we’re calling the “Parkrose Business & Community Alliance” – which couples the business community with residents to help meet core community challenges to pave a pathway toward our mutual success,” explained Murphy.  “So whether it’s a ‘giving event’ like the toy drive, or a community-building event like the Parkrose Marketplace, the focus will be on always making these community-lifting events.”

The organizer also commended the staff at Norwest Engineering, located in the Argay Square office building. “This firm is a great example of a local company stepping up and putting their resources to work for the community. In this case, they provided the storage and organizing space for this toy distribution; and, their workers generously donated toys. And they did it with good humor and joy.”

“I think is so wonderful that you folks around here handing out toys, even in the rain, to kids who need it,” says Candace Murphy, who pauses with her family for a photo.

Many groups pitch in
After learning about the effort, leaders and employees of Signs Now and Heritage Specialty Foods, both on NE Sandy Boulevard, held their own toy drives in support of The Fantastical Parkrose Toy Drive & Giveaway. “But it wasn’t only companies that contributed; the Parkrose High School Class of ’69 Alumni group also really helped out,” acknowledged Murphy.

“These companies and groups are what make up the best of the fabric of our community. And, with so many people contributing, we’re planning to make this an annual event, involving even more of our area’s companies and community groups!

Santa Claus watches as these family members chose items to under their Christmas tree.

“I’m so glad to see that our community continues to be very generous, despite all the tough stuff we all have been through,” Murphy reflected. “In spite of the problems –in Parkrose, and in all of outer East Portland – our people always step up to help.”

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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