Although poverty knows no season, it seems to be more ruthless during the holidays, perhaps because it creeps into the lives of children during a time when most are excited at the thoughts of Santa Claus and the gifts he brings to good little boys and girls.
The less fortunate family attempts to shelter their small ones throughout the year. They endure hotter summers, colder winters and emptier bellies. But, it is much harder approaching Christmas, because children hear about this time of year weeks before through their friends in school, telling about what they may be getting or by seeing the many ads on television announcing the newest and greatest toy.
Imagine being a child who wakes up Christmas morning to an empty tree and table. No toys, no food, just the same routine they have been used to throughout their lives. During this bad economy, lack of jobs and increasing poverty, there are more children like this. Children that will go without and have to go back to school and face those who are more fortunate to have gotten, wondering why or what they did to not get anything.
Of course as adults, we all know the real meaning of Christmas and that giving is more important than receiving. But to a small child, understanding that concept, while he or she didn’t get anything, is difficult to explain.
There is hope, however, and a way adults that have a little more than others can give. A way in which small children won’t have to go without.
Toys For Tots is a initiative that has been around for years. Toys for Tots Began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came form Bill’s wife, Diane. In the fall of 1947, Diane crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. He did. The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.
In 1954, the Toys for Tots program was brought into Logan County when Brother Joe Carrico and a few others saw the need in this community. Since then, the Toys for Tots program in Logan County has grown, serving thousands of families over the years.
However, the need has grown as well and organizers are very concerned about being able to help the many families that are coming their way.
The Toys for Tots campaign in Logan in now operated through the Agape Foundation. They host two major fundraisers each year in hopes to generate enough revenue to carry them through the holiday. The Radio-Thon, featured on WRUS, fell short this year, only raising less than half of what it drew in last year.
“I am concerned,” said Agape’s Mike Humble. “Donations are down this year.”
Humble and his wife Janice are looking to the second fundraiser and the community to help. The Toys for Tots Country Ham Breakfast will be held Thursday, Dec. 6 from 5:30-11 a.m. at the Logan County Extension Building. Humble says the economy is bad and there is a lot of competition for funding out there. He hopes the breakfast will be a success.
Over the years the breakfast has been held at the National Guard Armory. It was moved a few years back to the Cattle Pen behind McDonalds for more space, however, since the Cattle Pen has closed recently, they have had to move it to the Extension building on the 68-80 Bypass. Unfortunately, due to the amount of food to be prepared, they are relying on others to cook some of the meal and bring it to the Extension office. Janice Humble says she prays it will all come together.
The Agape Toys for Tots program offers food and toys to families in need at Christmas. Families come in and fill out an application and once approved receive food and can come and pick out toys for their children at the Carrico Center on Johnson Street in Russellville, which turns into a toy shop during the holidays.
You can help children and their families in Logan County by either donating monetarily or by giving a new or good condition toy. Time is running out, however, as Christmas is fast approaching. There are only 24 days left.
If you feel it in your heart to give a child a gift this Christmas or wish to sponsor a family for food, it’s easy to do. You can either go by the Agape Service Foundation at 501, Johnson Street, Russellville, Ky. 42276 and drop off your donation or you can mail a monetary donation to the address. For more information, please call 726-7109.