The annual Toys for Christmas program, a program which works to bring a little extra joy to area children during the holidays, is currently underway.
The Toys for Christmas program began in 1969, when Larry Van Werden presented the idea for such a program to the Osceola Chamber board. Van Werden had seen similar programs in Nebraska, and wanted to see something similar done in Osceola.
At the time, the Chamber agreed to donate $300 to help start the program, with the caveat that the ladies at SCICAP, South Central Iowa Community Action Program, would run it. Today, the program is run by Toys for Christmas, which has been able to continue due the support of the community and local organizations.
For those who would like to donate to the program, new clothes and new toys, wrapping paper and scotch tape are welcome; any cash donations are used to purchase gifts for families. One may also adopt a family to purchase items for if they wish. The boxes will be available from now through mid-December, with wrapping starting this week.
There are several donation box locations this year:
• Clark’s New and Used Furniture, 121 W. Washington St.
• Shear Loyalty, 208 S. Fillmore St.
• Keller’s, 122 1/2 W. Jefferson St.
• Clarke County Courthouse, 100 S. Main
• Osceola Community Center, 116 S. Fillmore
• Solutions!, 1020 Jeffreys Dr.
• Timber Ridge Country Market, 117 W. Washington St.
• Playa Margaritas, 707 W. McLane St.
An additional donation box is available at Mueller’s for employee donations.
Toys for Christmas serves families who live in Clarke County, or have children who go to school at either Clarke or Murray. To be eligible, families must qualify for free or reduced lunches at school.
Gifts will be distributed to families Dec. 18 and 19 at the Osceola Senior Center. Names of donors will be listed in upcoming editions of the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune starting with this week’s edition. Toys for Christmas is a 501c3.