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Bethesda American Legion’s annual toy drive underway

BETHESDA — Veterans of the village of Bethesda are in the Christmas spirit — aiding the community and helping the underprivileged this holiday season.

The Bethesda American Legion Post 90’s annual Christmas Toy Drive is underway. The organization is holding its second annual toy drive in order to support and benefit students of Union Local Elementary School in Belmont. The elementary school houses grades pre-K through fifth grades.

This is not the first time the legion has given back to the local school district. In August, the American Legion donated school supplies to the Union Local School District that helped several students from elementary through high school. In September, the legion donated $500 to the elementary school to train a special needs therapy dog that will assist special needs students.

Most recently, the legion held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. The money collected from the dinner will aid in purchasing necessary items for the toy drive.

The legion has partnered with Dollar General of Belmont to aid in raising items for the drive. Gordon Price, secretary of the American Legion Post 90, said the general store was elated when the legion asked them to team up for the drive.

“They were so thankful,” Price said of Dollar General. “Participating in programs like this is part of their program to give back to the community.”

The veterans are collecting toys, clothing and monetary donations for disadvantaged children this year.

Vice Commander Bruce Miller said last year’s drive was a huge success. About 20 children were provided donated items.

“We are hoping to help even more this year,” he said.

Price said upon speaking with the principal of the elementary school, Dana Kendziorski, he realized there was a rise in students that were in need of resource support.

“She said there is an increase in the kids needing assistance this year,” Price said.

On Dec. 15, all of the collected items will be distributed to selected Union Local students.

“A lot of these children are in need, we just want to be able to help the students. We have a good relationship with the elementary school and this is a good community project for us to participate in,” Miller said.

The Bethesda American Legion strives to help the community in any way it can, Miller said.

“We are always looking for good community projects and this is a great community project,” he added.

Anyone interested in donating items to the toy drive can call Miller at 740-526-6551 or Heather Martin at 740-296-3240. Donations may also be submitted at the Dollar General store located at 66780 Morristown Road in Belmont.

“If we can help these kids out, that’s what we’re going to do,” Miller said.

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