Toy drive to benefit Maui County children

The Maui News

The nonprofit Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui is continuing an annual holiday tradition of collecting toys for children in need.

The group that helps abused and neglected children is collecting new unwrapped toys for children of all ages. Gift certificates work well for teenagers, the group suggested.

The toys and cards may be dropped off at the Wailea Town Center, Maui Luxury Real Estate LLC, 161 Wailea Ike Place, Suite A-106, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Call 874-8473 for pickups.

The deadline for toy collection is Dec. 22.

Last holiday season, the group handed out gifts to 2,200 children. Realtor Donna Hansen, who collects toys annually for the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, said that she learned that there are 100 children in one homeless shelter alone in need of gifts this year.

She said the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center support children throughout the year, including helping with medical needs. The group also supports the Children’s Justice Center of Maui, a Wailuku facility where suspected victims of child abuse are brought for sensitive interviews and medical examinations.

Friends of the Children’s Justice Center officials are there when state Child Protective Services officials remove neglected or abused children from their parents or if the parents are taken to jail.

“CJC is there to help comfort them and will give them something to hold on to or play with,” said Hansen. “Those children of all ages feel such pain it is incredible. To think of what they have endured and will continue to experience is heartbreaking.

“Our goal is to help children who are in need know they are loved by the Maui community, that we care and that we know they can have a good future.”