Sunday, December 10, 2023

'Tots' donations slowly trickle in

Staff Writer | December 8, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Irene Gresty and Janet Henderson were the best of friends.

As children, the neighbors were "joined at the hip," they told The Mirror. They played together, went to school together and each stuck up for the other, they told the British newspaper.

But after Irene married a Royal Navy sailor and moved abroad, the pair gradually lost touch.

Fast-forward 60 years.

After years away, Irene moved back to the Linlithgow, West Lothian, area where the pair had grown up in England in order to be closer to family. After moving into a sheltered housing complex, she often wondered what had become of Janet. She knew from talking to others, that Janet still lived in the area, but their paths never seemed to cross.

It wasn't until she attended a technology event organized by the sheltered housing firm that oversaw the complex where she lived that she got the answer to that question.

As the event got underway, a woman at the table at which she'd selected to sit turned to look as Irene sat down.

It was Janet.

“We sat down beside each other and she turned to me and asked ‘Is that you, Irene?’ and I just laughed and said ‘Yes, Janet,’” Irene told a reporter according to a story on

The pair spent the rest of the afternoon catching up — sharing what they'd been up to over the past 60 years.

The pair told local media that they were delighted to reconnect and to find one another again.

Those connections and community bonds are at the heart of what the Sandpoint Lions do through their annual Toys for Tots Christmas campaign.

Today's generous donations total $2,200 and were received from: Mose and Janice Dunkel, $2,000; Donald and Lori Morris, $100; and Delbert A. Bader, $100.

The donations bring the total received to date to $8,100.

Each year, the Sandpoint Lions set a $50,000 goal — the same as it has been in past years — to buy Christmas gifts for children living in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points between.

The Lions make the most of the money by shopping bargains, and with the assistance of generous local businesses.

If you know someone, or need help yourself, the Lions are taking applications for the Toys for Tots program. Applications are available at Bonner Community Food Bank and on the door of the Lions Den.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also drop off donations at Columbia Bank’s Sandpoint branch, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; the Ponderay Starbucks and the Ponderay Mountain West Bank.

Donations may be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, Box 414, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please include a note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Information: Sandpoint Lions Club, 208-263-4118

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