By Conrad Dudderar
Toys are desperately needed for an annual Christmas charity effort that benefits about 400 eastern Canadian County families.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe annually serves people in need by providing new toys and other gifts at Christmastime.
Since its inception in the late 1990s, the program has served about 18,000 children from infant through age 15. Recipients must apply for the yuletide help.
Toys are being collected at drop sites across eastern Canadian County. The Yukon Fire Department is among the largest toy sources.
But the gift giving is down this year – and there’s less than a week for people to bring toys. The collection drive ends Thursday, Dec. 9.
“We are short on everything,” said Yukon’s Jim Poe, president of Santa’s Toy Shoppe. “We have put out ‘feelers’ to new places and have new collection sites, which are listed on our website (www.ecctoyshoppe.com) where people can drop off toys.
“That website also has a list of items desperately needed.”
Toy drop sites include Yukon and Mustang fire stations, banks, retail stores, health facilities, medical offices, and churches.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe is an all-volunteer effort that relies on tax-deductible donations from the public.
New, unwrapped toys – along with stocking stuffers and gift cards – are always welcome.
FAMILIES TO ‘SHOP’
This year’s “distribution day” will be Saturday, Dec. 11 in Yukon. Families selected for this charitable Christmas cause come to the venue to “shop” for toys to give their children.
“It is always so gratifying to see the sense of joy, relief and calm on the faces of the parents after they’ve shopped,” Poe said.
“As one of our board members commented, we try to have plenty of Kleenex available.”
Anyone who can spare some time Dec. 11 – especially in the afternoon – is encouraged to volunteer at the distribution event.
Recipient families were notified this week of their designated shopping times.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe, Inc. was created for Christmas 2001, in partnership with the Canadian County Salvation Army. That first year, about 90 eastern Canadian County families received toys.
Yukon’s Poe, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 “Volunteer of the Year”, has been chief elf since this charitable effort began.
“It’s not about me,” Poe said. “It’s about the kids and the community.”
To support Santa’s Toy Shoppe, visit www.ecctoyshoppe.com or call Poe at (405) 740-7882.