By Jessica Mathews /

Toys and gifts are being collected to help make the holidays a bit brighter for children and teens at the LACASA Center.

This marks the fourth year of LACASA’s Starry Night Toy Drive. The independent, locally-based nonprofit 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.

For the Starry Night Toy Drive, LACASA’s Director of Communications Jessica Bergum says they’re inviting the community to bring a new, unwrapped gifts or toys to the LACASA Collection resale boutique in Howell. Donors can place gifts 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 an in-store discount coupon.

Bergum tells WHMI toys and gifts are needed for boys and girls of all ages but they could especially use donations for older children and the groups that often get forgotten are tweens and teens. She said some ideas include gift cards, books for young adults, journals, or technology and science-type gifts to help the older kids feel just as special during holiday time.

All donated toys and gifts go directly to the children receiving services at the LACASA Center, including those living in the LACASA Crisis Shelter and those who participate in the agency’s Children’s Counseling Program. Bergum says they have a children’s holiday party that takes place and they also invite parents to pick out items for their kids. Other toys and gifts are then given to children throughout the rest of the year.

The Starry Night donation drive runs through December 17th. Complete details are available in the attached release.