A toy drive aims to brighten the holidays for children at LACASA.

The Starry Night Holiday Toy Drive starts today and runs through December 21st. Community members are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy, gift or gift card to the LACASA Collection charity boutique in Howell. All donated toys and gifts will be distributed to children living in the LACASA Crisis Shelter and those who participate in the agency’s Children’s Counseling Program. LACASA clients who are parents also will have an opportunity to select gifts for their children to ensure Santa is prepared with everything he needs.

Officials say toys and gifts are needed for boys and girls of all ages, but VISA or discount-store gift cards are needed especially for pre-teens and teens. Younger children enjoy arts and crafts kits, as well as remote control toys. Infants and toddlers need educational toys and books while board games, card games, books and puzzles are said to be good gifts for children of any age. Donors can place their gift under the store’s giving tree and write their name, or initials, on a star ornament to be hung on the tree. In return for donating a new present, donors will receive a store discount coupon.

New this year for the Starry Night drive will be a special movie screening at the Historic Howell Theater on December 1st at 3pm. Attendees can view “Elf” on the big screen in exchange for donating a new, unwrapped gift or gift card to the toy drive, or paying a $10 admission fee. All gifts and proceeds will be donated to LACASA Center to assist with the holiday toy drive.

LACASA Center is an independent, locally-based nonprofit that provides shelter, counseling and critical services for victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. All victim services are provided a no charge. The agency also conducts educational programs throughout the community to raise public awareness and help prevent abuse. More information about the toy drive can be found through the link. (JM)