TUMWATER, Wash. — There's no doubt the coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on families, especially children who are struggling to understand why they're not going to school or can't enjoy playgrounds.
To ease that stress, a group that normally provides toys at Christmas time is trying to bring some joy to kids now.
At Tumwater's Moore Wright Group, the weather wasn't great for their Saturday disaster supply distribution event, but organizers wouldn't even think of canceling it.
“I was like 'are you sure you want to come to Tumwater from Wenatchee' and they were like 'no, this is the only place we can find for toys,'” Executive Director Tanikka Watford Williams said.
The Moore Wright Group partnered Toys for Tots to get the toys usually distributed at Christmas time out into communities that are hurting right now.
“Oftentimes, children don’t come to you and say 'I’m having depression, mom, can we have a conversation about this?'” Watford Williams said. “So, you’re trying to keep them engaged with things."
Toys for Tots sent more than two million toys around the country.
In Thurston County, the Moore Wright Group focused its efforts on working with families dealing with domestic violence, foster care, school districts, and groups like the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington.
“I think it is a great way to be able to support the community and the families that have to stay home and may not have all the activities and things ready in some places," said volunteer Moriah Eandler.
Before coronavirus, the non-profit did job training and worked to help people coming out of homelessness or domestic violence. Like so many others, they've shifted gears by focusing on urgent needs and passing out everything from cleaning products, household goods, and now toys.
The Moore Wright Group has been able to distribute more than $4 million worth of products in 15 counties.
Just like those they serve, the non-profit is concerned about how they’ll keep paying their bills and serving those in need. They’re trying to find more funding and hoping for donations.
Their mission has always been about delivering hope, These days, the packaging is a bit different but the payoff is still the same.
“The joy of people, the gratefulness of people really does keep you going,” Watford Williams said.