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Hasbro & Wizards Of The Coast Make Season Magical For Renton Children In Need

Through Wizards Holiday Magic, the Salvation Army Renton Corp. distributed more than 8,700 toys and games to needy families.

A line of parents snaked outside of the former LA Fitness in Renton Center on Monday as the Salvation Army distributed toys donated from Hasbro and to families who otherwise would not have had the means to give their children gifts this holiday season.

Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast have teamed up with the over the last five years to distribute toys during the holidays, although the Salvation Army has run the annual event in Renton for more than a decade, said .

The Renton-based toy companies donated more than 8,700 toys and games to the 2,100 children signed up for the program.

“They know the need in this community is great,” he said. "And I want to give credit where credit is due."

Rebecca Jimenez of Renton said her children — ages 1, 3, 6 and 7 — probably wouldn’t have received any gifts this year if the Salvation Army, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast had not hosted the Wizards Holiday Magic event.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said of her experience as she picked out a K’Nex set for her son.

More than 30 other local companies also contributed, said Aird, ensuring that each child received at least four toys and a stocking stuffer. The Salvation Army also sent each family home with a whole turkey or chicken and a bag full of all the fixings for a holiday family meal.

Marsiz Baker, nearly 9-months pregnant, selected toys for her 12-year-old son and said the program is a godsend for her family.

“It helps a lot,” she said as she made her way past a table with stocking stuffers and into a final room with the pre-packaged holiday family dinners.

First-time volunteer Cheri Helgreson said she chose to give her time because her neighbor sent out an "SOS" that the Salvation Army needed more volunteer help.

About 160 volunteers, most of them high-school age students, made the event run smoothly by helping parents with toy selection.

Eight-hundred families signed up for assistance, Aird said.

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