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Giving Back: Tri-Valley Haven Seeks Holiday Support, Gifts, Toys

Crisis group accepting donations Dec. 4, 5, 6 and 10 for nearly 800 shelter and needy families in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin.

Gifts and toys are being collected this week by Tri-Valley Haven, a 35-year-old rape-crisis, homeless and domestic-violence shelter, for its annual holiday shopping event for needy families from Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin.

This year, 781 Tri-Valley families are pre-registered at the charity's gift-distribution center, officials said.

Included in those numbers: 1,260 children up to age 12; 478 teens from 13 to 18 years old; and 222 seniors. 

Board games, sports gear, gift cards, pajamas, toy trucks and dolls are among requested items.

Of particular need this year are gifts for teenagers, both boys and girls, who are often overlooked in traditional toy drives, according to Haven staff.

"A lot of times, it's harder to get these gifts as people usually collect for little ones," said Maureen Hamm, co-chair, along with local Michael Ducey, for Tri-Valley Haven's 2012 donation drive.

Donated items must be new, unwrapped and "non-violent" in nature, she said. A complete suggested "wish list" can be viewed here.

Hamm, who helped run previous drives, said the shopping event held over two days is heartwarming.

"Everyone's very happy, and grateful and enjoying the moment," Hamm said.

Livermore-based Tri-Valley, which operates homeless and domestic-violence shelters in confidential East Bay locales, along with rape-victim advocacy services, promotes independence and empowerment to its clients.

The holiday-shopping program furthers that goal, Hamm said, as the head-of-household adults "shop" in a retail-like setting, selecting one donated item  per family member.

"They do their own shopping, they choose (the) gifts, and that's part of the empowerment," Hamm said.  

Donations can be dropped off this week -- today, Wednesday and Thursday --  and also Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave., Livermore.

Signs at the church site will direct visitors to the drop-off room, Hamm said, adding that "none of this would be possible without our many supporters and dedicated volunteers."

For additional information, call Tri-Valley Haven at (925) 449-5845, or visit the web site www.trivalleyhaven.org. 

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