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'Tots' in danger of not hitting goal

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | December 29, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The bonds of friendship are immeasurable.

Just look at the friendship of triplets Olivia, Emma and Axel Wierenicz and Tony Parks, who worked for the city of Orlando, Fla.

The Wierenicz family happened to live on Parks' garbage collection route and each day when he drove past, the trio had to go wave hello, according to a story on the Good News Network website.

"He loved those kids so much and they love him," the triplet's mother, Carla Wierenicz, said in an interview with WESH in Orlando, Fla. "He was their hero."

The trio were fascinated by the sound and movements and finally, their mom, Carla Wierenicz, offered to take them outside. The trio were fascinated by how the garbage truck picked up the garbage cans and hoisted them overhead before the contents were dumped into the back.

"Every day they would come out and if they missed me, mom would have to put them in the car and circle around until they found me," Parks told WESH 2 News in Orlando.

Carla Wierenicz would occasional shoot videos of the daily visits, which started about four years ago when the trio were about 3 years old. She posted them to her Instagram accounts, where they went viral.

"We still have so many kind people all over the place," she told the television reporter of the reaction to the posts. "It's so beautiful to see that."

Unfortunately, a few years ago, Parks' route changed and his young fans no longer got to see their buddy. But that changed last week when the city arranged for Parks to make a special stop — a visit with Olivia, Emma and Axel.

The television reporter said the quartet made it a point to do all of their favorite activities — honk the horn, drive up and drive down the street. They even exchanged gifts: The trio gave parks drawings they'd made for him and Parks gave the trio mini city of Orlando garbage trucks and T-shirts.

Like Parks, the Sandpoint Lions love to make youngsters smile; albeit in the Lions' case, it all centers around Christmas.

But time is running out — and the Lions are in danger of not making their goal for the first time in decades.

To help the Lions raise the needed funds to ensure Christmas is merry for all the community’s youth, we’re going to keep the drive going through New Year’s Eve.

To date, the total amount of donations add up to $46,074.03 — just a few thousand short of the Lions' $50,000 goal. It's the same amount as it has been in years past.

The Toys for Tots program provides free new toys 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.

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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