TORONTO - Organizers for this year's Toys for Toronto toy drive and distribution are gearing up for what they say will be a busy season collecting and distributing toys for families in need for the Christmas season.
The community-based organization will hold its toy distribution at the Toronto American Legion Post 86, 415 Market St., Dec. 14, according to Lu Ellyn Dallas, chairman.
"We are in the process of collecting new and gently used toys for the children of Toronto," said Dallas. "Toys may be brought to the collection bins at Dollar General on Fourth Street, Rite Aid Pharmacy and Riesbeck's grocery store, on both Franklin Street Extension.
"Many businesses, clubs and churches have come forward to offer help and to collect toys for this project," continued Dallas. "The American Legion has been the biggest supporter of Toys for Toronto, not only in monetary donations but in the storage of toys and use of (the post's) hall for distribution. More community businesses need to help with this growing project."
Dallas said last year 230 children had a wonderful Christmas and were helped by the program.
"This year we already have 176 children signed up, with many more to come in after Thanksgiving," Dallas said. "I can say that the amount needed will easily double this year as the needs of the community continue to grow. All names that come in are listed and times are scheduled by volunteers to give the toys to the families."
Names of families eligible for the program come from the Toronto Unit of the Salvation Army, the American Legion and Toronto City Schools, Dallas said, adding eligible families must live in the Toronto School District to receive toys. Ages range from newborns to 13.
"Most of the paperwork is done at the Riverview United Methodist Church by myself, Dallas continued. "Letters are sent to businesses, union organizations, clubs and churches. Everyone can become involved and help. The hall will be abuzz with holiday cheer and giving beginning the week of Dec. 10.
"It is such an experience to work one on one with the families and see how grateful they are," Dallas continued. "Without Toys for Toronto many kids would not get anything for Christmas. It takes a community in prayer to do the best with what God has given us."
Dallas said funds raised for the program at various churches organizations may be mailed to Riverview United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 348, Toronto, OH 43964. Checks should be earmarked for Toys for Toronto. For information or to volunteer, call Dallas, at (740) 317-4776.