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Plymouth Youth Commission Buys Toys for Veterans' Families

Members of the Plymouth Youth Commission had $1,525 to spend when buying toys for veterans' families at Genuine Toy Company in downtown Plymouth.

Plymouth Community Youth Advisory Commission members and their family and friends browsed the shelves and displays searching through the array of toys, puzzles and games at Genuine Toy Company Tuesday night.

The PCYAC selected toys to be distributed through the local VFW to veterans' families and their children.

"The best part is picking out the toys," said Bryn Birchler, 16, of Canton High School.

Birchler was at Genuine Toy Company, which has been participating in this event for three years, along with fellow PCYAC members Melissa Neal, 16, of Canton High School, and Ahmed Dannaoui, 13, of West Middle School. 

The challenge of the night was spending all of the $1,525 raised by and donated to the PCYAC. The Plymouth Police Officers Association donated $500, and Phil Pursell, former Plymouth City mayor and owner of Main Street Auto Wash, donated $100. The rest was collected by PCYAC members from the community.

"There is nothing that makes me feel better," said Ed Hingelberg, Plymouth City commissioner. 

He said it's a great event because it's run by the youth and takes place at a community business.

"It used to be at a big box store before I got involved," he said. "I don't have anything against big box stores, but we have a wonderful local toy shop."

Birchler said Genuine Toy Company has more interesting toys than what places like Target offer.

Elle Dare, co-owner of Genuine Toy Company, said the store gives the PCYAC a 20 percent discount on their shopping.

Dare said they try to pick out toys for the older kids, too, because they can be forgotten. Genuine Toy Company staff helped Commission members pick the toys based on lists of children provided by the VFW.

Dennis Bielskis, Commander of VFW Post 6695, said the VFW finds the families and packs and distributes the toys to them.

He said receiving families can be those with or without members in active duty.

"Who is more deserving than our vets ... who cannot afford Christmas?" Hingelberg said. 

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