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Join Toy Team 9 and brighten a kid's holiday

Buy or donate at select Kroger stores listed below
Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 29, 2018

Join Toy Team  9 and buy or donate a new, unwrapped toy at one of nine Kroger stores Saturday Dec. 1, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.  A WCPO personality will be there to thank you. See the details below. First, read about one of the agencies that will make sure your toy donations get to kids in need.

CINCINNATI – The holidays are super busy for Santa Maria Community Services, which works with about 4,000 people a year.

"With the cold weather and just a lot of different needs over the holidays, whether it's food or gifts, there's just a lot to prepare for the holidays," said Jessica Polzin, Youth Development Program Coordinator.

Santa Maria's Joe Williams Family Center in Lower Price Hill offers a number of youth services, especially for nearby middle-schoolers.

 "Yes, it is packed after school," Polzin said. They'll have a holiday party later in December for kids in the community. She can’t wait to fill up the room with toys from generous Tri-Staters.  

“When you get them all in one room, it's just something I can't even put into words. It's, umm, just incredible," Polzin said.  "They go down and pick out a toy from the room that we have them all spread out in, and so it's just like Santa's Workshop."

Luz Elena Schemmel, Wellness and Immigrant Services Director, interacts with a number of immigrants served by Santa Maria.

 “A third of those families are English as a second language, so we serve everybody in the community here in the West Side," Schemmel said.

She said donated toys make the holidays possible for families trying to get established in Cincinnati.

"If they don't need to worry about toys for the kids, that's a huge benefit. So they can use their money on other things because holiday season is pretty hard and pretty difficult sometimes for families,"  Schemmel said.

Please join us for our annual Toy Team 9 collection drive. Here's where to buy or donate a new unwrapped toy between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1:

Kroger Union: 9001 U.S. Highway 42, Union, Kentucky 41092

Kroger Newport: 130 Pavilion Pkwy., Newport, Kentucky

Kroger Liberty Township: 7300 Yankee Road, Liberty Township, Ohio 45044

Kroger Marketplace: 10477 Harrison Ave., Harrison, Ohio 45030

Kroger Eastgate: 4530 Eastgate Blvd., Cincinnati, Ohio 45245

Kroger Western Hills: 6165 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45238

Kroger Florence: 7685 Mall Road, Florence, Kentucky 41042

Kroger Mason Montgomery: 5100 Terra Firma (Arbor Square), Mason, Ohio 45040

Kroger Oakley Station: 4613 Marburg Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45209

Since 2011, WCPO - 9 On Your Side has partnered with Kroger and local nonprofits to collect toys. This year’s toy drive benefits these Greater Cincinnati organizations:

Thanks to your generous help, children in need will have an extra special holiday this year.