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TWIN FALLS — The classic cars may have stayed home, but their drivers came out Saturday afternoon for a good cause.

Joining Forces Magic Valley, an organization of veterans, partnered with Toys for Tots for a book drive in the parking lot at the Magic Valley Mall. It also was meant to be a car and motorcycle show, but rain and cold weather preempted that part of the event.

Members of the Idaho Chariots Car Club still showed up, bringing donations of books.

Debbie and Richard Eynon of the Twin Falls Chapter left their 1931 and 1955 Chevys at home.

“If the streets were dry, we’d have brought them,” Debbie Eynon said, noting how difficult it is to clean the cars’ undercarriage.

“The books are the important part of this,” said Paden Barnard of the Marine Corps League.

For each donation of books, the donors received a gift bag — filled with pencils, a keychain and other items.

As Debbie Johnson filled each gift bag, she explained how the Toys for Tots Foundation started a literacy program in 2009. “We wanted each child we provided toys to get a book,” she said.

In 2018, the local Toys for Tots unit collected 1,000 books.

Serving 8,400 children, though, meant that goal fell short.

This year, Johnson is hoping to collect far more books.

Toys for Tots serves the Magic Valley from Burley and Rupert to Bliss, and Sun Valley to Jackpot, Johnson said. Children are eligible to apply for the program if they are on free or reduced lunch at school.

“We work with around 24 agencies,” Johnson said.

Barnard explained that approximately 650 Toys for Tots donation boxes have been donated by West Rock, where he works. They will be placed throughout the Magic Valley in early November.

“There will be 65 boxes in Twin Falls alone,” said Jimmy Berkley of the Marine Corps League.

Berkley brought out the Toys for Tots train, sharing driving responsibilities with Barnard as runs were periodically made to Barnes and Noble to pick up book donations.

Those purchasing books at Barnes and Noble could provide a code, and a portion of the sales will go toward buying even more books for the Toys for Tots campaign.

Among the sites where donations of toys and books can be made, will be Gold’s Gym, Walmart, doctor’s offices and many stores, Barnard said.

Toys and books will begin being delivered to the various agencies during the first week of December, Johnson said.

The website www.toysfortots.org features ways to make cash donations to the campaign, and information on the local unit using the search function.

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