Only a handful of days remain before Christmas is upon us and Darlene Lopez and her Toys for Tots staff is very aware of the time they have left to gather, stack and sort toys and gifts for their annual December 24th delivery.
The annual collections began right around the Oktoberfest in Lamar and will continue until just a few days before Christmas. This year’s operation is headquartered at the Car Palace on North Main Street and volunteers are welcome to drop in and assist from 6pm to 9pm, Monday through Thursday. “We will need volunteers to come out at 1pm on Saturday, December 19th to stack all the toys,” Lopez said. Last year the Toys for Tots operation found gifts for approximately 1,120 people, several hundred families in Lamar and Prowers County and Lopez says she expects the numbers to be close to that, “We’re still compiling the lists right now, but haven’t gotten all that we expect at this point.”
Drop off points for toy donations are at Walmart, the Car Palace, Fellowship Credit Union on East Olive Street, Dollar General, Valley National Bank and the Lopez’s Body Shop at 7375 Highway 50, across the street from KLMR. As usual, Darlene asks that donated gifts not be wrapped and the toys should be at least nearly new and in good working order. Each year, the staff has to toss some toys which are just too broken or dirty to spend their time on. “Cash donations are always welcome as we can purchase some items that are specifically needed,” she explained.
Working from the lists of requests the staff has to separate all the toys into groups relating to age and gender and then put together gift bags for each household depending on the age and gender of the children in the home. Some items such as athletic socks or winter gloves are generic enough, depending on size. Batteries, toiletries, colognes, perfumes are always useful as gifts while the ‘hard to shop for’ age group has usually been teen aged boys. Call Darlene Lopez for information or to make a donation at 688-0167.
By Russ Baldwin
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