Valley Green Bank and Chestnut Hill Hospital kicked-off the Community-Wide Book and Toy drive this week to benefit children in Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, Roxborough and Manayunk. Local businesses along the Avenue have boxes readily available to accept donations now through December.

For the seventh year, Valley Green Bank will collect new or gently used children’s books, preschool through eighth grade. Recipients of this year’s collection include The Mastery Charter elementary schools, the Mt Airy Schools Coalition and Philadelphia Health Center #9.

“We are so pleased to collaborate with the entire community on this initiative,” said Jay Goldstein, Valley Green Bank’s president and CEO. “There is no better way to support our children than to encourage them to be avid, accomplished readers, and, as we all know, reading is a key to success in pursuing a lifetime of learning.”

New, unwrapped toys for children, ages 2-16, are needed by the Salvation Army, Roxborough.

“Last year, the Chestnut Hill community donation added to our total collection of almost 2,000 toys for the annual Toy Shoppe,” said Marci Cooper of the Salvation Army. “About 250 local families qualified to participate in the Toy Shoppe where parents or guardians are accompanied by a volunteer elf to select two age-appropriate toys and a stuffed stocking for each of their children.”

“Expanding the toy collection to include the community has aided our efforts to give back to our neighbors,” said Cathy Brzozowski of Chestnut Hill Hospital. “This year we are hoping to help even more families have a joyous holiday with the support of local businesses serving as collection sites.”

Collection sites are: Valley Green Bank, 23 W. Highland Ave. and 7226 Germantown Ave.; The Market at the Fareway, 8229 Germantown Ave.; Gravers Lane Gallery, 8405 Germantown Ave.; Weavers Way Co-op, 8424 Germantown Ave. and 559 Carpenter Lane; Big Blue Marble Bookstore, 551 Carpenter Lane; and Chestnut Hill Hospital, 8835 Germantown Ave.

For more information call the Book Drive at 215-242-7540 or the Toy Drive at 215-248-8727.