Need for toys great in eastern Canadian County

‘Santa’s Toy Shoppe’ collection underway; some 600 families expected

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Volunteers Tara and Elizabeth Patrick show off just a few of the stuffed animals given away during the eastern Canadian County Santa’s Toy Shoppe in December 2021. The mother-and-daughter duo agreed that they both enjoyed helping others at this event. (Photo by Cara Pattison)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

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.

Jim Poe

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.

Making sure everyone has a “ball” at Santa’s Toy Shoppe giveaway day in December 2021 are, from left, volunteer Mike McEachern and board members George Parker and Charlie Wright. Toys are now being collected to provide Christmas presents for eastern Canadian County families. (Photo by Cara Pattison)
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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 ecctoyshoppe@gmail.com or call (405) 740-7882.

Members of the Yukon High School football team volunteer at the December 2021 Santa’s Toy Shoppe distribution in Yukon: From left, coach Marshall Hahn, coach Cole Lockwood, Kawika Burnett, Luke Stiegelmeyer, Landon Hahn, and Grady Mackey. They helped shoppers find toys and carry parcels to vehicles. (Photo by Cara Pattison)
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