By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Planning is well underway for the third annual Christmas Toy Drive to be held December 9-15 at St. Paul’s Church from 2 until 7 p.m. St. Paul’s is located behind Subway, and the drive will be set up in the fellowship hall. “This has become one of my favorite times of the year”, exclaimed one volunteer who has been with the program since the beginning.
The program has grown tremendously in just two short years, serving two hundred and thirty nine youth in 2016, and three hundred in 2017. There are no restrictions as to who can shop at the drive, and the only questions asked are the age and gender of the children being shopped for. “I don’t want anybody to be turned away”, proclaimed Marie Barr. One family last year traveled in from Buckhannon just to utilize the program, extending her sincere gratitude for helping her family during the Christmas season.
Several people have expressed an interest in helping in some way. The drive always needs volunteers to help set up and assist in the shopping process. “Any teenager who needs community service hours, we will gladly give it to them”, expressed Barr. Donations are always needed of new or gently used toys (no clothes), or monetary donations are always appreciated. More times than not, there seems to be a shortage for children of a certain age or gender group. This is what the monetary donations are used for, to make store runs and purchase items to fill the void in inventory. “We really need stuff for older kids”, stated Barr. Items such as sports balls, nerf guns, lotions and body washes, puzzles, games, hair accessories, and brushes and combs seem to be quite popular for those needing items for ages thirteen and up. Other items frequently used and needed are batteries, disinfectant wipes, coloring books and crayons, gallon Ziploc bags, new toboggans, gloves, and scarf sets, doll clothes, and books for all ages.
The donated items are always gone over thoroughly to ensure sanitation and working ability. New batteries are always installed, items are wiped down with disinfectant wipes, stuffed animals are washed, puzzles and games are checked for all their pieces, and sets are kept whole. If items are discovered to be inoperable, they are labeled as such.
The drop off locations for the 2018 toy drive will be the Tucker County Extension Office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed 12-1 for lunch), Stevens Realty, Community Action, and the Thomas City Hall from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. the week of December 3 through 7. You can also drop off donations from now until December 7 at the Parsons City Hall, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For more information about the drive, please call 304-478-3173 or 304-478-2501.