The service association collected new toys and games during Lakewood’s annual tree lighting ceremony, Light Up Lakewood, on Dec. 2.
“We learned that The Wilkinson Center was in need of gifts for children and teens,” said Megan DeLeon, a member of the Lakewood Service League, “and we were more than happy to reach out to the East Dallas community asking for help, to make sure every family received gifts for their children this holiday season.”
The service league considered a number of area organizations, and found that the Wilkinson Center was the group that fit best and needed the most help. Instead of spreading donations among a number of charitable organizations, the league chose to focus solely on one.
Lakewood Service League members distributed flyers throughout the community and had a tent set up as the toy drop-off location at Light up Lakewood. They provided baked goodies, candy and hot apple cider to children and parents that evening. The Lakewood community donated almost 70 gifts at Light up Lakewood as well as cash donations. An additional 30 gifts were received from Lakewood Service League board members and other individuals who dropped off items at an alternate drop location.
“This year’s fantastic donation contributed to the great success of our annual Toy Drive. We were able to serve a number of East Dallas families. The drive is set up like a department store, arranged by age and gender, for parents to go through and select what they like for their kids. We even had a gift wrapping room,” Mark Ernst, the director of operations at the Wilkinson Center, said.
More than 100 donated gifts, plus $256 in cash, were delivered to The Wilkinson Center Toy Drive on Dec. 17 by Lakewood Service League members.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the contributions made by league members and members of the East Dallas community,” DeLeon said, “as our goal was to collect 100-150 gifts. We were overwhelmingly pleased by the huge cash donation at Light Up Lakewood.”
The Wilkinson Center is a poverty rescue and prevention agency, serving those in need in the East and Southeast Dallas community for nearly 30 years.
The center serves more than 40,000 people annually, and began as the Munger Place Emergency Services Center. It became the Wilkinson Center in 1985 after a generous gift by volunteer Ruby Wilkinson.
The center provides basic necessities and tools for its clients to break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient.