By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
The need has increased significantly among eastern Canadian County families seeking help to provide a bright Christmas for their children.
And that’s why Yukon’s Jim Poe says it’s more important than ever for people to contribute to Santa’s Toy Shoppe.
Poe, president of Santa’s Toy Shoppe, anticipates more than 1,000 youth from newborn to age 15 will benefit from the generosity of the public and volunteers.
Poe estimates there will be “close to 400 applications” from families.
“The applications are up,” he said. “That is an almost-20 percent increase from previous years, so we’re going to be in desperate need of all toys.
“We just need help to provide toys to all of our families in eastern Canadian County.”
New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Yukon Fire Department, Mustang Fire Department, along with several local banks, fitness centers, doctor’s offices, hair salons, and other businesses like Dollar General.
“We try to have drop boxes in places that people will visit multiple times between when we put them out and pick them up,” Poe said.
Volunteers will distribute toys starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles of recipient children “shop” for the toys at this event.
About 60 families each hour will shop until all the toys are gone.
School and civic groups will volunteer to organize all the toys before the Dec. 15 distribution day.
Families can apply for Santa’s Toy Shoppe by visiting the fire department, local day care centers and pediatrician offices.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe encourages people to donate toys and gifts to give away at Christmastime to less fortunate children and youth in eastern Canadian County.
The Salvation Army came up with the idea for Santa’s Toy Shoppe in the late 1990s.
“They’re the ones that got it started,” Poe said. “The idea was the make sure all the kids got toys for Christmas.”
Since that first year, the program has helped spread joy to more than 15,000 eastern Canadian County children.
Another non-profit group, Blessing Baskets, collects Christmas toys in western Canadian County.
Tax-deductible monetary donations for the holiday effort may be mailed to: Santa’s Toy Shoppe, P.O. Box 850011, Yukon, OK 73085.