Edmonds Food Bank’s Toy Shop makes holiday dreams come true

Personal shopper Sheri Ambacher helps Carla Rosebrook choose a classic toy for her 16-year-old son: a Lionel Scout electric train set!  A traditional holiday gift for generations, the Lionel Scout has been in regular production since 1949.
Personal shopper Sheri Ambacher helps Carla Rosebrook choose a classic toy for her 16-year-old son: a Lionel Scout electric train set! A traditional holiday gift for generations, the Lionel Scout has been in regular production since 1949.
Toy shop director Pamela Frank goes over with her staff how things will operate. One of the hardest things is limiting families to one gift per child. “This event gets us all so into the spirit of giving,” she said. “When we open the room just seems so full of toys, it’s hard to believe we’ll give them all away. But they do go fast.” This year some high-demand toys are being held in reserve and put out later in the day. “We want to make sure we keep back some good stuff for the late-comers,” she said.

Larry Vogel was on hand Saturday morning when the Edmonds United Methodist Churh fellowship hall was transformed into the Edmonds Food Bank Toy Shop. Toys are collected all year from a wide array of community groups, then sorted and prepared by volunteers. They are given away to families in need during the festive holiday event, which has been going on for more than 30 years.

Kevin Mullany manages the bicycle section. “I collect bikes all year long and refurbish them for this event,” he says. “This year we have more bikes than ever, some of them brand new. ” Here, Kevin stocks up the table of helmets. “Each bike comes with a new safety helmet,” he added.
Candy Brown and Jane Quigley manage the stuffed animal section.
Volunteer Jeff Nichols helps Hilda Rodriguez choose the right bicycle for her 16-year-old son.
Toy Shop volunteer Judy Lambert helps a customer with a book selection.
The line outside forms early on Toy Shop day in anticipation of the 9 am opening. “We expect about 350 families this year, many with multiple children,” said director Pamela Frank. “Parents pick up toys from the Toy Shop, wrap them and give them to their children as if the toys came from them.”


  1. I remember when i was a single very young parent with 4 little girls.
    Christmas was a very difficult time for us/me realizing that i would be able to give my kids some of what they were wishing for. Due to churches and other agencies, my kids received some toys that filled some of their Christmas wishes. Then, i was able to focus on some of the winter clothing they needed. When Christmas came the girls were overjoyed as thought they had gotten everything they had asked for. Thank you to the folks that were doing it waaay back then and thank you to those that are doing it today. There is so much more need today that is for certain. God Bless you all and your families this Christmas season.

  2. Seeing the Lionel Scout train set was such a treat for me. I received a Lionel Scout set from my parents for Christmas in the early 1950’s when I was about 5 or 6 years old. Then as now, it’s a boxed set…complete train layout in a box…with a circle of track, a transformer, and several cars. I had no idea these were still being sold. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found that Lionel has been producing the Scout set continually since 1949. I had many years of fun with mine, and over the years added track and various other accessories, eventually mounting it all on a large piece of plywood. I played with it all year…it didn’t just come out on Christmas. Mine is now on a display shelf in my office, along with many of the accessories…station, signals, etc. A true classic toy!

  3. A heartfelt THANK YOU to the entire Edmonds community from the Toy Shop!

    The support and generous donations of gifts and time given by our own Edmonds United Methodist Congregation, through it’s members and the Food Bank, as well as the many, many other local organizations involved, is just overwhelming!! You all truly gave Christmas to others by sharing of yourselves and your resources. There were countless instances of true service and communion with those in our own community who are in need and struggling during the holiday season.

    To this year’s Community Partners thank you for giving ME the Christmas spirit:

    -Edmonds United Methodist Church & the Food Bank
    -EUMC Little Chicklet’s, EUMC Men’s Group, our Youth, & the UMW
    -Edmonds Daybreaker’s Rotary
    -Alderwood-Terrace Rotary
    -Harbor Square Athletic Club
    -Pancake Haus
    -Walnut Street Cafe
    -West Edmonds Co-operative Preschool
    -Edmonds Moms on Facebook
    -Scott’s Bar and Grill
    -Boy Scout Troop #312
    -Girl Scouts
    -Half-Price Books in Lynnwood
    -St Hilda St Patrick Episcopal Church

    … and many individuals from the community!

    (I have no doubt that I may be missing others, please do contact me to let me know whom I may have missed!).

    I consider myself to be beyond blessed to be a small part of this large, loving and generous community here in Edmonds.

    Thank you & Merry Christmas!
    Pamela Frank
    Toy Shop Director

  4. What an amazing day!
    Last year around late Nov. I was asked if I wanted to get a gift from the toy shop for my 15 year old. I declined. But this year I was asked and I said yes, on a whim. Two weeks or so later I was asked if I’d volunteer that day. I signed up!
    Not only was the place decorated and organized for the families, there was a crisp tingle in the air. Very crisp.
    I was a parent in need of ‘something’ for my hard-to-shop-for kid. I didn’t expect books. Surprise! Good stuff. Then, at the toy area I found a nice wallet and a cool seahawks hat. Good deal. But this guy was taking pictures of my shopping assistant and I. I said something like ‘get lost dude’, when I spied with my little eyes THE train set.
    Now I know a couple of big, grown-up guy train set fans….and a picture came to me of my son, soon to never be a child again, setting up his train set on Christmas morning. Then that same photographer took my picture: shocked and oh so blessed.
    ~Spent the rest of the day trying to fit parents into a small hallway and out of the cold. Many parents waited outdoors with the same hope- the hope I had, of finding something to give to their children. Lunch for all helpers was made by the church members-turkey noodle soup and yummy eggsalad sandwiches. And more homemade cookies than is legal in one place. Great food, great company. Thank you cooks and bakers, and all those who donated.
    Tiny Tim said it first,’ “Lord Bless us, One and All” ‘ And the good Lord blessed.
    Thank you and thank you!

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