‘Pop-up Pantry’ originator creates a ‘Free Holiday Toy Store’

If starting and running the ‘Parkrose Stepping Up’ free food pantry wasn’t enough, see why this jolly fellow is now helping Santa with outer East Portland families in need …

Parents look for Christmas toys at this – the “First Annual Joyful Toy” event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Families drove from all over outer East Portland to a residential street, not far from Parkrose High School, for the free “First Annual Joyful Toy Store”, open for one day on December 20.

Canopies covered much of the home’s driveway, under which were tables lined with all kinds of toys, sure to delight kids on Christmas. The host of this Christmastime toy buffet was Terry Murphy, the man who created the monthly “Parkrose Stepping Up free food pantries.

“Joyful Toy” organizer Terry Murphy loads a new bicycle into a car – sure to bring joy to a child on Christmas.

“As you know, we’ve been working with the Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative organization, and other groups, to help feed ‘families in need’ for quite a while, and also to distribute some warm winter clothing,” Murphy reminded East Portland News.

“It being Christmastime, we decided to do a ‘toy drive’, too – reaching out to the community for brand new, unwrapped toys – or ones that have been ‘gently used’ – to give gifts to those who need them,” explained Murphy.

“I look at it as a toy exchange; I brought some toys and picking up some toys,” says Jordi Hansen.

Volunteers spent hours before the event checking out the used donated toys, making sure the only playthings put out would be clean, working, and in good condition, he said.

“And, we have a number of brand new toys – primarily thanks to the Portland Fire & Rescue Toy & Joy Makers, who really came through by giving us a bunch of them,” acknowledged Murphy. “But, so many other local organizations got their people together and donated toys, too. This event came together so quickly, it’s been hard to keep track of them all!”

With so many great toys on display, and volunteers putting out new ones all the time, it takes some parents quite a while to choose the most suitable ones for their kids.

Asked how many toys were gathered, Murphy looked up, as if to calculate the amount, and responded, “I really can’t tell; we have hundreds of toys out here – in my garage, and even more inside the house.”

The volunteers estimated that several dozen toys were selected by parents during the first hour. “And, to make if fair for all who come throughout the day, we’ve been replenishing the tables from our stock in back, making sure that those who come have a ‘fresh selection’ of both new and used toys from which to choose,” Murphy pointed out.

With her boys in mind, this parent checks out the abundant selection of toy vehicles.

Asked why he felt compelled to take on an additional volunteer duty, Murphy paused before he replied, “With this economy you pay your rent, hopefully buy some food – and, for many families, they’ll just be no money left over for toys.

“And, it’s sure worth the effort: The parents who come are so happy, so ecstatic, with joy – you can see it on the parents face, even if they don’t say a word,” Murphy smiled.

To volunteer, or donate goods at upcoming events, it’s never too late to contact Terry Murphy at terrypdx1@gmail.com.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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