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‘Magical time’: Westfield student leads toy collection at Kirk’s Jewelers

Submitted Photo Sage Zachmann, a student at Westfield Academy and Central School, is shown with Kirk Frey of Kirk’s Jewelers and Santa at a drive-through toy collection event held on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year for giving. Kirk’s Jewelers once again got the memo.

Kirk’s Jewelers teamed up once again with the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program to help bring joy to underserved children in Chautauqua County this holiday season. The Toys for Tots program is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Sage Zachmann, a 13-year-old student at Westfield Academy and Central School, has continued her annual tradition of passionately collecting toys and gifts for other children. The community of Westfield, along with friends, students and staff at Westfield Academy and Central School, are committed to helping Sage make or exceed her goal each year.

Sage has become known as Kirk’s Jewelers’ “Shining Star,” according to Sharon Frey of Kirk’s Jewelers. She noted that the event began when Sage first asked for toys for other children around the holidays as her birthday gift. Kirk’s Jewelers pledged to match the number of gifts Sage received in the first year, and the event has taken off ever since. Sharon Frey noted that Sage has received more than 250 toys already this year.

Many members of the community and Kirk’s Jewelers customers have continued the tradition of giving and have been generous with toy and monetary donations.

“It is heartwarming when someone brings in a toy to pay it forward,” Frey said. “They remember what it was like to receive one of those toys. That gift meant the world. It inspired hope, a sense of security and a sense of community. We hope to inspire the next generation to do something great.”

A drive-through toy collection event was Saturday, Nov. 19, co-hosted by Lynne Newman of The Resource Center and Lauren Boyle, Toys for Tots Volunteer and Official Elf of Kirk’s Jewelers. Attendees enjoyed a special visit from Santa and hot dogs provided by Gus’ Hotts, along with snacks and hot chocolate for the guests.

“It was awesome. It’s always a big event,” Frey said. She said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-through events kept the toy drive going the past few years. The success of the drive-through events led to another one this year.

“People are always welcome to come inside the store to donate, as well,” she added. Frey also noted a large donation of toys in person recently.

Kirk’s Jewelers will continue to accept new, unwrapped toy donations at 3935 Vineyard Dr. in Dunkirk through the official cut-off date of Saturday, Dec. 10. Donations are, however, still accepted after that date.

“We believe that when a child receives the gift of a new toy on Christmas Day, we can help bring the joy of the season and send a message of hope to children in need,” Frey said. “The holidays are a magical time of the year. We want to keep that magic alive and continue to make futures shine bright in Chautauqua County.”

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