Final Days Drive for Toys for Tots

Darlene Lopez, organizer of Toys for Tots in Prowers County, said close to 375 families, including some 650 children from toddlers to mid teens will be served for the Christmas holiday by the efforts of donations and volunteers again this year.

Lopez and her crew have been quietly assembling, cleaning and categorizing toys and assorted gifts at the Prowers County Annex since October, preparing them for distribution on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24.  Once the request lists have been compiled and gift bags sorted, volunteers will make their rounds in the county that afternoon, distributing gifts to those who needed a financial assist to make Christmas happen for their families.

This past Saturday, December 17, was the last big organizational push at the County Annex, the Toys for Tots headquarters.  Over a dozen people, young and old, were filling 30 gallon trash bags with toys from the distribution bins and placing them along the hallways for pre-assigned delivery routes.  Lopez said finding gifts for boys and girls from 10 to 16 years in age have been crucial this season.  As usual, teen boys are the hardest to find gifts for.  Items such as colognes, batteries, hats, gloves, small cd players, sports items or electronic games are really needed.  For the girls, cosmetic items such as lotions, shampoos, soaps and toiletries make the best bet.  Lopez asks that clothing not be donated, as it’s hard to fit apparel to a family without always knowing sex or sizes.  She’s stated that you can’t go wrong with cash or gift certificates.  Any gift donation should be left unwrapped at the collection boxes at Walmart, ALCO, Dollar General, the LCC Book Store or American Family Insurance on South 4th Street.  You can also drop off donation at Paul’s Body Shop on the KLMR curve across from the radio station.  Lopez said only a couple of days are left early this week for making any donations.

The economy has always played a role in the amount of toy and cash donations, and their need.  This year, donation radiothons from KVAY and KLMR helped, but there has been an increased demand as well for the number of requests for assistance.   State tabulations indicate that Prowers County has one of the higher poverty level percentages in the state for children under 13, and 43 percent of the county is receiving food stamp aid.

Lopez said the volunteer drivers should report to the Lamar Middle School around 11am on Saturday to get their gifts and route assignments.  Folks will be heading to Granada and Holly and throughout Lamar until every bag has been distributed.  It usually takes a little over an hour to complete a route, depending on the number of volunteers that show up.  For additional information, contact Darlene Lopez at 688-0167.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCitycommunityCountyEconomyEventsGranadaHollyLamarSchoolWileyYouth


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