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Marysville community supports ‘Toys for Tots’

From left, it took Marine LCpl. Robert Nelson, Sara Maukstad, KOMO 4 news reporter Elisa Jaffe, donor Paulette, Marine Staff Sgt. Shawn Van Eaton and LCpl. Sese Pasari, Paula Hindershoot, Susan Van Eaton and Mike Bustad to load Paulette’s $2,000 worth of purchases into the ‘Toys For Tots’ collection truck Dec. 17. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, it took Marine LCpl. Robert Nelson, Sara Maukstad, KOMO 4 news reporter Elisa Jaffe, donor Paulette, Marine Staff Sgt. Shawn Van Eaton and LCpl. Sese Pasari, Paula Hindershoot, Susan Van Eaton and Mike Bustad to load Paulette’s $2,000 worth of purchases into the ‘Toys For Tots’ collection truck Dec. 17.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

TULALIP — The third annual “Toys for Tots” collection drive at the Quil Ceda Village Walmart started at 6 a.m. on Dec. 17 and raked in more than $4,000 and filled up its truck trailer before the day was done at 7 p.m.

Quil Ceda Village Walmart Good Works Coordinator Mary Jane Hayes was once again joined by KOMO 4 news reporters Michelle Esteban and Elisa Jaffe, as well as a host of U.S. Marines in uniform, to receive donations of toys and cash.

Quil Ceda Walmart Store Manager Doug Goodin got into the holiday spirit of giving by telling his son Fynn to fill up four bags with toys that he thought other kids his own age might want to have. Fortunately for Fynn, his father picked up the tab.

“It was a bit hard for him to pick out things for girls,” laughed Cortnie Goodin, Doug’s wife. “Once he got going, though, he just wanted to do more and more.”

A number of passing motorists in the Walmart parking lot showed their generosity as well, with one man handing Toys For Tots $300 in cash that he’d just won off a $20 bet from the Tulalip Resort Casino that morning.

“Thank God for that casino,” Hayes laughed.

One Walmart shopper gave so much that she actually need help from the store’s staff to wheel all her shopping carts full of toys outside to the collection truck trailer. Paulette declined to share her last name, but she did share her wealth, to the tune of $2,000 spent on toys that went directly to Toys For Tots.

“Her son committed suicide at the age of 17,” Jaffe said. “She never saw it coming. In the four years since, she’s come here every year to support Toys For Tots. She sees these as her son’s Christmas presents.”

Marine Staff Sgt. Shawn Van Eaton had never been to the Quil Ceda Walmart before, but the Snohomish resident has been taking part in Toys for Tots for nearly the past 13 years, not long after he first enlisted in the Corps.

“There have been a couple of years when I’ve been deployed overseas, so obviously I wasn’t able to do it then,” said Van Eaton, decked out in his dress blues. “Communities help out service members, so we help them out in turn. It’s really good when everybody’s helping each other out, even if it’s just a little bit. I love meeting people out here and seeing their generosity. It’s nice to see little kids giving, although some of them find it hard to give up those toys,” he laughed.

Jaffe has taken part in the past three years of Toys For Tots drives at the Quil Ceda Walmart, and she described this year’s turnout as better than most.

“Past years have been so cold and wet, with snow and rain and so much wind that we nearly lost the tops to our tents the one time,” Jaffe said. “People still came out, because their hearts were in it every year, but this year we’re getting more first-timers in the warm sun. It’s neat to see all the regulars again too.”

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