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Hundreds turn out for toy giveaway at Friendly Inn Settlement House

Posted at 12:09 PM, Dec 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-15 12:09:30-05

CLEVELAND — Long lines wrapped around the Friendly Inn Settlement House on Wednesday as hundreds showed up for a toy giveaway event put together by Cleveland Ward 5 Councilman Richard Starr.

It’s a clear sign that inflation and the pandemic have taken serious tolls on this community.

“With inflation and prices and not enough moneys in our house or even we're being employed, it's just hard to make ends meet, especially if you coming out of the pandemic,” said mother Tomika Johnson.

“COVID and people losing their jobs — they need help,” said Yolanda Armstrong, President and CEO of Friendly Inn Settlement.

The event was put together by Starr and the people at the Friendly Inn Settlement House, the two entities working together to collect toys and more.

“Not only do we have the toy giveaway, but we're also giving away gift cards for families that are in need,” Armstrong said.

“We have a thousand gift cards,” Starr said. Each gift card is loaded with $25. “And our goal is to get rid of 1,000 gift cards and make sure everyone gets the resource that we need available.”

This isn't the first time the event has taken place, but it is the first time Starr and the Friendly Inn Settlement worked together to make it happen.

Those in line say they're thankful for the help.

“It's great to see community coming together,” Johnson said.

Starr said this year's event shows people are connected and that resources are available.

“It's up to us as leaders to work together to maximize some of the resources that we do have available to solve some of the problems and issues we have,” Starr said.

To learn more about the Friendly Inn and how to donate, head to friendlyinn.org.

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