Pick up free toys Sunday at Keizer Toy Swap

People seeking toys or gifts for kids can “shop” this weekend at a popular local event – no money required.

The Keizer toy swap is back for a second year thanks to a partnership between the cities of Keizer and Salem, Marion County Environmental Services and Salem Cloth Project.

It’s open Sunday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Keizer City Hall, 930 Chemawa Rd. N.E.

Anyone can come, and donating a toy isn’t required to take items home.

Last year, more than 800 toys found new homes with about 150 people who came through, said Kaileigh Westermann-Lewis, Keizer’s senior environmental program coordinator.

“It was so much fun. I think that’s the biggest thing I remember, just the positive vibes,” said Westermann-Lewis. She also runs the nonprofit Salem Cloth Project diaper bank, which is supplying volunteers for the event.

The primary goal is waste reduction, Westermann-Lewis said. The swap is intended to provide an alternative for people who might throw away toys their kids have outgrown or buy new items that they could get used from a neighbor.

But many people last year commented how the event saved them money and helped forge connections.

“It felt really positive that people were just getting to look through items and chatting with one another,” she said.

People who want to donate new or gently used toys, games and books intended for kids can bring them to the event or donate them through Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Keizer City Hall, the Salem Public Library and the West Salem Library.

Last year, lots of people brought toys as the event went on, keeping the selection fresh.

“We’re refreshing the inventory and constantly getting new toys in,” Westermann-Lewis said.

She said donations so far this year are similar in quantity to last year, but more people have given scooters, larger play sets and other “high dollar items.”

“We’ve had to separate them and create a whole new process,” she said. Items like scooters will be raffled off to ensure people have an equal chance to get them.

Toys that don’t get claimed will be donated to Helping Hands, a Salem nonprofit, which will open them up for families in need to “shop” for Christmas ahead of the holiday.

People with questions about the event can contact Jenny Ammon, Keizer’s education and outreach coordinator, at [email protected].

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.