This JoCo nonprofit wants to give away toys to abused and neglected children — how you can help

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties trains volunteers to help abused and neglected children navigate their court cases. For the holidays, CASA is trying to collect donated toys and other items to give to more than 200 kids in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. Above, a volunteer works with a child. Photo courtesy CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.

The local branch of nonprofit CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties is hosting a toy donation event in hopes of finding gifts for abused and neglected children this holiday season.

This Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., CASA volunteers will collect toys through a drive-thru holiday gift drop-off.

Donations of unwrapped toys, books, gift cards and other gifts can be made by pulling up outside the CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties offices at 6950 Squibb Road, near the Target in Mission.

Festively-dressed volunteers will bring in each donation while holiday music plays, organizers say.

CASA is a national nonprofit with local chapters that works to recruit and train volunteers to be special advocates in court on behalf of children who have been the victim of abuse or neglect.

CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties’ toy drive is for more than 200 local children who have turned in holiday “wish lists” to the organization this holiday season.

Local CASA officials say donations of toys are “desperately needed.” Currently, only half of kids have had their wish list items filled.

“Particularly during the holiday season, we want to make sure that we are going the extra mile to do something special for the kids,” Julien said.

The wish lists include everything from dolls, bath toys and scooters for younger children, to sports equipment, personal hygiene items and jewelry for adolescents.

In addition, CASA says they will take donations of gift-wrapping materials, including tape, gift backs, ribbons and bows.

CASA is seeking gifts appropriate for all ages, she said, but mostly for teenagers. This year, CASA is also implementing a program for kids to pick out gifts for their adult caregivers.

Julien said these efforts serve as a way to give the children that CASA serves a positive outlook during the holiday season. Not only does receiving these gifts give them something to look forward to, it also lets them know there are people in the community who care about them.

“The kids that we work with have been through so many traumatic events,” Juen said. “They just have had one unfortunate setback after another and we want to turn that around.”

How you can help

If you’d like to donate toys, you can check out CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties’ wish list for kids at its Facebook page or see the list below:

Those who want to donate but can’t make Friday’s drive-thru event can call 913-715-4040 to arrange a separate drop-off.

You can also call and “adopt” a specific child’s wish list through the office or make monetary donations at casajwc.org.