by Madison V. Fisler
Dec. 2, 2013. The holiday season in the High Country means snow flurries, crisp air and of course, lots of holiday cheer to go around. But for some area residents, the holiday season is a season of greater need than any other time of the year.
Santa’s Toy Box in Boone seeks to help alleviate some of this need by helping to supply gifts for local children in need this Christmas.
Santa’s Toy Box was first started in 1986 by the Men’s Group at Deerfield Methodist Church. Since that time, Santa’s Toy Box has become a community project.
This year, with prices climbing and the organization’s reach growing each year, Santa’s Toy Box is again in need of donations to help meet the needs and requests of many area parents for help this Christmas.
“Last year, we helped about 918 children,” said Gene Swift, co-chairperson of Santa’s Toy Box.
“We never know exactly how many kids we are going to have each year, but the last few years have been around 900 children.”
This year, Santa’s Toy Box is located at 190 Poplar Grove Road in Boone and began setting up shelves, assembling and shelving toys and distributing them after Thanksgiving.
The way it works is donations of toys and money are collected throughout the year, with most of the donations coming in around the holiday season.
“Some people like to donate money for us to buy toys, and some people like to go shopping as a family and let kids pick out gifts to give children in need. After the donations have been collected, we make a makeshift toy store. We build shelves and put all the toys and books on display. We let the parents choose up to four toys and a new book.”
Donations are being collected until Dec. 15 but items are still taken after that date for the next year’s stash of toys.
Even during the most giving of seasons, getting enough donations to meet the needs of the Watauga community can be difficult.
“It’s always a struggle,” Swift said. “Money and donations are coming in slowly, but we hope to help as many children as we can.”
Donations can be sent to PO Box 1337 Boone, NC 28607. If you would like to volunteer to help with Santa’s Toy Box, call Gene at 266-3362. Those who are looking to get signed up to receive gifts this holiday season can contact the family coordinators at 262-1422 to get signed up.
“If there are people in need we want to help them,” Swift said. “We will try to accommodate everyone.”
All donations are tax deductible. Receipts will be automatically provided for all contributions over $250 and receipts for lesser amounts will be provided as requested. Those supporters contributing $500 or more will be classified as Super Santa’s with recognition and publicity for this year’s project in print and media, if wanted.
For more information, call 828-264-4801.