FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Neenah nonprofit empowers kids to unplug and play this summer

Local News

NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) Three charitable organizations have banded together to empower kids to unplug and play this summer. Those gifts will reach thousands of children who’ve been impacted by the pandemic.

In a warehouse in Neenah pallets of donated toys.

“It’s amazing, it’s an amazing place,” said one woman.

Collected by three charitable organizations and now being distributed across Northeast Wisconsin from Jake’s Network of Hope.

“We’re working with agencies all the way up to Marinette, all the way out to Waupaca, down to Fond du Lac and all the way to the Lakeshore,” said Jake’s Network of Hope Executive Director Stephanie Bowers.

Enough toys and games to help 10,000 children impacted by the pandemic.

“So many kids have been devastated by Covid that we just want to give them a chance to unplug and be a kid again,” said Bowers.

In a program called Unplug and Play, made possible by Good360, Toys for Tots and Jake’s Network of Hope.

“This is just our way of giving back and helping people in need,” said Bowers.

From Monopoly, to Clue, to Legos, in this warehouse are 25,000 toys and those 10,000 kids are going to get two toys a piece. The toys are making their way to kids through 30 of Jake’s non-profit partner agencies, like Lincoln’s Foster Closet.

“It’s just to help the kids get outside, do more interactive things instead of being on the computer or phones or your TV all summer long,” said Shana Beach.

And through school social workers like Dusti Evans Klukas from the Green Bay School District.

“With a year long of virtual learning for some students, this is just an opportunity to have tangible things to play with,” said Klukas.

“It’s about giving hope. We know that so many kids have suffered because of Covid one way or another,” said Bowers.

And now this summer, thanks to three nonprofits, area children can unplug and play.

“We work with a lot of companies that really care about our community and really want to give back,” said Bowers. Getting back to experiencing the joy of a simple toy.

“I think it’s an amazing thing because kids need to be outside more,” Beach said.

The toy distribution is part of “Jake’s Network of Hope’s” – new “My Neighbor Initiative.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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