About 1,000 children were signed up for this year’s event

PASO ROBLES — Nearly 500 families received some help for Christmas at the 28th annual Day of Giving on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Paso Robles Event Center.

“It went really well. All of us were happy. It’s amazing what the community comes together to do every year,” said Amanda Bean, who is the Day of Giving coordinator and chair of the Toy Bank board. 

The free event is organized each year by the Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles and joined by Coats for Kids with additional help from the community. Around 1,000 children were signed up for the event this year. Bean noted that many families signed up for Day of Giving for the first time this year.

SLO County District 1 Supervisor John Peschong presented a Certification of Recognition to both nonprofits before opening. The recognition came as a much appreciated surprise and a great way to begin the day.

The Toy Bank provides toys, games, playground balls, stuffed animals, books, arts and crafts at the Day of Giving. They serve North County families with children in Paso Robles, San Miguel, Shandon, Bradley, and Heritage Ranch. Everything is donated by event sponsors and the community or purchased with money donated by residents and businesses.

Inside one of the buildings at the Paso Robles Event Center, thousands of toys were spread out and organized by age groups. Color codes are used to allow for easy distinction. Volunteers were available to help families shop for their toys. Many of the parents this year told Bean they had the exact toy their child asked for this year.

One change this year was the decrease in COVID restrictions. The past two years have been different for the Day of Giving with the restrictions, which did not allow volunteers to help families shop for toys.

“It was nice to be able to smile at people again,” said Bean, who explained that even though she may not be able to speak the same language as some of the families, a smile is universally understood.

Another opportunity to support the Toy Bank is coming on Saturday, Dec. 17, with their Show and Shine Fundraiser. The fundraiser will be at Daniels Wood Land, 2125 Ardmore Road in Paso Robles, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles plus food, music, raffle, airbrushing, and pinstriping demonstrations.

On the other side of the building was Coats for Kids.

Coats for Kids has been helping keep families warm for 35 years. Their mission has always been to distribute warm items such as coats, jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts directly to North County families, not just kids, in need.

“It makes you feel good to know you did something to help somebody,” said Coats for Kids Chairman Barbie Butz, who was happy with how many families they were that day.

Despite the rainy day, many families were still able to make it to the Day of Giving for coats and toys. Butz was impressed with the quantity of quality coats they received this year. Also in abundance this year was young volunteers. 

“We had volunteers that were just wonderful … it went so smoothly,” said Butz.

Leftover coats were brought to the El Camino Homeless Organization, which had locations in Paso Robles and Atascadero. About six boxes of coats each for women, men, and children were brought to the organization for distribution.

The Toy Bank accepts donations year-round. People can donate online at prtoybank.org or send a check payable to Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles, P.O. Box 2801, Paso Robles. For more information, visit prtoybank.org.

Find more information on Coats for Kids here coatsforkidsslocounty.org.

Photos by Camille DeVaul/PRP