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Toys needed: Guadalupe Center launches collection for Holiday Gift Shop

Guadalupe Center is collecting gifts and monetary donations to brighten the holidays for children and teens in Immokalee.

Through Friday, Dec. 9, Guadalupe Center is accepting new, unwrapped donations of age-appropriate toys, games and other gifts for infants through teenagers. The nonprofit’s annual Holiday Gift Shop provides gifts for more than 2,000 Guadalupe Center students and their siblings based on financial need.

“Immokalee did not sustain significant flooding or wind damage during Hurricane Ian, but many parents work in agriculture, hospitality and tourism – three industries that were heavily impacted by the storm,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Many of our families were already struggling financially, and we want to make sure that all children will still have gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning.”

Guadalupe Center relies on generous support from individuals, businesses, residential communities and civic groups to make the Holiday Gift Shop a success. With the help from volunteers, parents browse a selection of gifts allowing parents the opportunity to surprise their children on Christmas.

“Each year, our teachers and staff generate a wish list based on their conversations with students and parents, and also by reviewing lists of trendy gifts for children and teens,” said Robert Spano, Guadalupe Center’s vice president of programs. “In 2022, we are seeing more requests for educational games and learning tools, in addition to technology and toys featuring characters like princesses and superheroes.”

Age-appropriate gift suggestions include:

  • Infants and toddlers (0-2 years): infant gyms and bouncers, rattles, baby dolls of various ethnicities, stacking rings, light-up or musical toys and bath toys. Popular brands: Step-2, Baby Einstein and Leap Frog.
  • Preschool-age children (3-5 years): play sets, building blocks, Play Doh, baby dolls of various ethnicities, remote-controlled cars and activity sets. Popular characters: Marvel, Disney, Shimmer and Shine, Sesame Street, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks.
  • School-age children (6-12 years): cars and trucks, action figures, riding toys, arts and crafts sets, sports gear and science lab kits. Popular characters: Shopkins, Hatchimals, Pokemon, Disney, Marvel and Minecraft.
  • Teenagers (13-18 years): wireless headphones or earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, Fitbits, portable chargers and mini drones. Popular gift cards: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Dunkin, McDonald’s, Ulta and GameStop.

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off through Dec. 9 at two locations in Collier County: Guadalupe Resale Shop, 12980 Tamiami Trail North, Unit 10, in Naples; and Guadalupe Center’s van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning, 3655 Westclox St. in Immokalee. Additionally, monetary donations can be made securely online at GuadalupeCenter.org/donate.

For more information, please contact Haley Thalheimer, community outreach and donor relations coordinator, at HThalheimer@GuadalupeCenter.org or 239-657-7120.

About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven nonprofit organization with proven success in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education, as well as fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. Established in 1984, Guadalupe Center is a premier, education-focused organization that delivers outstanding results: 95% of students in the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program meet or exceed kindergarten readiness standards; 100% of students in the After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program demonstrate significant gains in reading and math; and 100% of seniors in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program graduate from high school and are accepted into college, with more than 94% ultimately earning a college degree. With a mission to break the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center serves more than 1,750 students annually and is generously supported by private donors, philanthropic organizations and community partners. For more information, please visit GuadalupeCenter.org or call 239-657-7711.

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