By Molly Cerreta Smith

‘Tis the season to be jolly… and also to lend a hand to those in need to make their holiday a little more cheerful. David Karsten, president of multiple Karsten’s Ace Hardware locations around the valley, is doing just that this season. Throughout the month of December, Karsten’s Ace 32nd Street and Shea location will be collecting donations for Arizona Helping Hands.

Arizona Helping Hands is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Paul Donaldson and his wife Kathleen. To date, the organization is the largest provider of essential needs for foster care children in Arizona. Items that are often distributed through Arizona Helping Hands include hygiene and personal care products, diapers and wipes, beds and cribs, new or gently used clothing and even safety equipment for new foster parents.

During holiday seasons, the organization also hosts toy drives to collect gifts for foster children that might not otherwise receive a present under the tree. This year marks the non-profit’s 21st Annual Toy Drive. Items for donation include toys for infants to young teens through the age of 14.

Requested age-appropriate items include board books, toddler toys, blocks, musical toys, Duplo sets, Sesame Street items, craft kits, magic kits, Paw Patrol items, remote control cars, dolls (including all ethnicities), super-hero themed items, princess themed items, dress up sets, sports balls, DIY kits, journals and sketch pads, young adult coloring books, jewelry making kits, make-up kits, nail polish and nail polish art kits and more. It is requested that no play guns, Nerf guns, archery sets or anything that depicts violence be donated. The goal of Arizona Helping Hands is to collect 30,000 toys this year.

In doing his part to help the organization, Karsten is raising awareness for Arizona Helping Hands’ 21st Annual Toy Drive, and will be collecting donations through the end of the month.

“During this season of giving, we feel it is important to bring awareness to some of the local groups that work hard all year to support the community,” says Karsten. “We pride ourselves as being the local neighborhood hardware store, and feel that it is very important to support our local charities, like Arizona Helping Hands. This event is a great opportunity to do just that.”

In addition to the month-long donation efforts, Karsten’s Ace Hardware located at 10624 N. 32nd Street, is hosting a two-day Wrap it in Red Garden Party on Saturday, December 14, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 15, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with food, refreshments, music, product demonstrations and more.