FAIRMONT – The Marion County Christmas toy store is ready for another year of helping kids after learning from last year’s successes.
Toy store organizers and volunteers met at the school board’s central office on Wednesday to discuss goals for the coming months and make their plans for distributing this year’s toys a reality.
âIt looks like we’re going to have a really good turnout this year,â said Butch Tennant, store manager. âWe have a lot of involvement from schools and volunteers.
Chad Norman, school board administrative assistant and toy store volunteer, chaired the meeting. More than 20 people from the community and from the schools were present.
This year, the toy store will operate the same as in 2020. Every student in the county will receive a toy store registration form to take home. Students who lose their form or those who are home-schooled can obtain a form from the central office of the school board.
The forms will be distributed in the coming weeks and must be returned by November 12. The toy store pickup event will take place on Saturday, November 27 at 3 p.m. at the Marion County Election Center. Any child 13 and under can qualify for the event.
Last year, the toy store was held using a drive-thru format, where families would line up and pick up the toys they requested on their child’s form. Tennant said last year’s event worked as expected, so he’s sure this year will be even better.
âLast year has been great. In fact, I think it’s the best way we’ve ever done it, âTennant said.
The toy store has helped 775 children and exceeded its goal of $ 17,000 by raising over $ 20,000 last year. Now, the organizers set the goal at $ 20,000.
“We made twenty [thousand] last year, so I would love to do twenty [thousand] again this year, âTennant said. âNo sense to go back. “
James Saunders, a member of the Marion County School Board, who has volunteered with the toy store since its inception, said he remembers being this child in need when he was growing up.
He said he remembered his family couldn’t afford gifts for Christmas, so he and his siblings would wrap their own toys in newspaper and give them to each other. ‘other to open them.
He later recalled a family that stopped by every year before Christmas and gave him and his siblings gifts.
Those memories stuck with Saunders, especially after the toy store came up with the slogan “Every Child Deserves a Happy Christmas.”
âEvery child should wake up on Christmas morningâ¦ and have a new gift that they can open and know was from someone who loved them,â Saunders said. “I think that’s what it means for all of us.”
The community can help in several ways with the toy store this year. The most direct way is to buy and donate a new toy to give away this year. Toy donations can be dropped off at any school or directly at the central office.
Monetary donations are also accepted. For more information, call Butch Tennant at 304-203-8385.
The Marion County Family Resource Network sells personalized Christmas baubles for toy store donations of $ 5 or more. Contact them at 304-366-4445.
The Toy Shop is also looking for volunteers to sort the toys, or to work during the distribution in November. For more information on volunteering, call Sharon Burrows at 304-657-6853.
âI think this event shows the pride of the community and the care and respect for Marion County,â Norman said. âWe want to make sure every child has a good Christmas, every child deserves it. “