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Toys for 1,500 Children in Need

Reston Interfaith gathers toys for the needy.

Anyone who has walked into the offices of Reston Interfaith recently, may think they’ve got the wrong address. The place looks like it’s had visits from FAO Schwartz, Kay-Bee and even the big guy from the North Pole.

For the last few weeks, the oldest and largest social service agency in the Greater Reston area has been accepting toys as part of the Adopt-A-Family program. With a flood of contributions from the community, the walls and halls of Reston Interfaith’s office space are filled with rows of bikes and hundreds of boxes full of puzzles, basketballs, replica fire trucks and games.

“We’ve adopted more than 1,500 kids this year,” said Amanda Andere, director of development at RI. “In the next four days, families can come by and take home presents for whatever tradition they celebrate.”

The program, which RI has done for the last eight years, is one of Kerrie Wilson’s favorite. “It makes me feel so good,” said Wilson, CEO at RI. “I get so excited seeing the progress each year.”

On the morning of Dec. 15, like one of Santa’s helpers, Reston resident B.J. Silvey worked elbow-deep in grease in a conference room putting bikes together. “The generosity of the community has just been out of sight,” said Silvey. “I can’t believe all they’ve done for these kids.”

During the holiday drive for toys, Silvey has been joined by hundreds of volunteers who have worked to sort and package gifts for families.

“I imagine the kids will be ecstatic because without [these gifts] they probably wouldn’t have Christmas,” said Silvey.

This year, the Adopt-A-Family program, which provides three age and gender appropriate gifts per person, has also helped more than 200 seniors and 100 Katrina families that are now living in the area.

“We’re always amazed at how generous the community is,” said Andere.

As a nonprofit organization serving Northern Virginia, RI promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services.