By Conrad Dudderar
An annual yuletide effort to collect toys for underprivileged eastern Canadian County is now in overdrive.
“We’re expecting a major increase in need,” said Jim Poe, president of Santa’s Toy Shoppe. “We’re basing that on what we’re seeing from our local food banks, Yukon Sharing and Manna Pantry.”
Those nonprofits are reporting record numbers of clients seeking help.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe makes Christmastime brighter for people in need by allowing families to select toys and other gifts on a huge “giveaway” day in Yukon.
Established in 2001, the program serves eastern Canadian County (Yukon, Piedmont and Mustang area) youth from infants to age 15.
In past years, Santa’s Toy Shoppe volunteers have helped an average of 400 families annually.
This year, Poe believes toys will be needed for about 600 families.
The Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 “Volunteer of the Year,” Poe was asked what people can do to help.
“Buy toys and donate money,” he said, matter-of-factly. “And we’re always looking for volunteers to help us in various ways.”
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 welcome.
“We’re always looking for gifts for teens age 12-15,” Poe noted.
Primary drop-off locations are the Yukon Fire Department, Mustang Fire Department and eastern Canadian County banks like YNB and BancFirst.
DISTRIBUTION SET DEC. 10
Volunteers are being recruited to help with the 2022 distribution day set Saturday, Dec. 10 in Yukon. Individuals and groups are needed.
“Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles will come shop,” Poe said.
“We need volunteers to help organize the toys and volunteers to help families shop for toys.”
Poe has been active with Santa’s Toy Shoppe since the charitable giving program began.
“We learn something new every year; it’s something a little bit different every year,” he said. “The pandemic helped us have a better system. Prior to that, we had paper applications.
“Now, everything is online. We found out, through the pandemic, that everybody has access to the Internet – one way or the other.”
Santa’s Toy Shoppe’s chief elf is humble when it comes to taking credit for the program’s continued success.
“It’s not because of me; it’s because of all the people who have volunteered and our board of directors who have helped through the years,” Poe pointed out. “We have so many people in our community who are willing to help.”
For more information about supporting Santa’s Toy Shoppe, email email@example.com or call (405) 740-7882.