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Operation Giveback prepares for Easter Sunday toy drive

SALINAS, Calif. (KION)- The Easter bunny is delivering more than eggs this
weekend. It’s that time of the year when Operation Giveback surprises children on the Central Coast.

For over a decade, Ollie Lowe has made it a goal that no kid gets left behind during the holidays. Operation Giveback will make its comeback this Easter Sunday for the local community.

The idea for this tradition dates back many years. Lowe is the creator of the operation and says the idea came to him at a young age.

"It all started honestly years ago when I was a child. My mother would take families down to the Salvation Army during the holiday season and take families over there to get clothes and gifts," stated Lowe.

Lowe understands from firsthand experience why kids may need help, especially during holidays.

"I was that kid," said Lowe. "So I was a kid that was in need that didn't have the cleats for football or didn't have the registration fees to play certain sports didn't have the school supplies that are needed on a daily basis so I was that kid. So I'm an advocate for those kids I've been there I've lived that life I understand it."

What started as a small project inside a garage has turned into a community-wide event. Lowe has partnered with different groups, car clubs and produce companies to collect toys.

One local girl Madison Mitchell has made her birthday about others and has joined Operation Giveback every year to help kids.

“I’ll ask everyone that’s coming to bring an unboxed toy and I’ll; even ask my family and then I’ll put it in the box and then donate it," said Mitchell.

Another little helper closer to Lowe likes to do the exact same. Lowe’s daughter Praisia is keeping the tradition strong and walking in her father’s footsteps.

"I have the ability to give back and because I have that ability I think that it’s important that I contribute to people that are in need"

If you find yourself in Salinas this Sunday, you may just spot Lowe.

"On Sunday we’ll go to the local parks and distribute baskets and Easter eggs," said Lowe.

But when Easter comes to a close, it’s still back to work for Lowe.

"This is never-ending this is always going to continue. I hope that my daughter takes on this once I'm long and gone and she inspires others who want to jump on board and this is something that’s gonna be here forever"

Even though the youth is the one that benefits, you’re never too young to kick start giving back.

Praisia loves helping out her local community and hopes it will inspire others.

"It's an opportunity to inspire other people and I like that feeling

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Taryn Mitchell

Taryn Mitchell is a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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