JASPER COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - For nearly 40 years toys for kids has been helping kids in need in Jasper County. Most years around 200 kids get everything from toys to necessities like clothes. It also gives other kids a chance to learn.
Connie Elliott with Jasper County HCE says, "It is a great learning experience. The other kids are learning to manage their budget, get the most items for the money that they're given for the gift bags. So it's usually a pretty good learning experience for the shoppers as well as the recipient."
However, nothing about 2020 has been usual. Those kid shoppers were replaced with older volunteers to help.
Monetary donations go to buy all necessities. This year those donations are normal. But getting toys has been another story.
Elliott says, "We always make sure there is a new toy. New toys you know coloring books, baby dolls, trucks and tractors, and equipment. All that good stuff you know. That puts that magic into Christmas."
Many businesses and churches that typically hold toy drives have been closed due to the pandemic. This is leaving the program with a shortage of that Christmas magic. A toy drive Saturday morning looks to help fix that.
Elliott explains, "You just pull up to the door, depending on how it's raining or where the rain is coming from, you'll see us."
Starting at 9 in the morning folks can swing by the community center to drop off toys. All to help brighten a kid's Christmas.
Elliott says, "Lots of times there's lots of mothers have tears in their eyes when they see what's in the bag. Or you'll know they'll say 'oh my, we had nothing. We didn't know what we were going to do this year."
The toy drive runs from 9 am to noon.