McCook Toy Box donors, volunteers, recipients enjoy true Christmas experience

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We hear the same lamentations every year -- Christmas is too commercialized, people have forgotten the true meaning -- and yet when the weather turns cold and the lights come out, few of us can stave off all signs of the holiday spirit.

One thing the most secular and devout among us should be able to agree upon, however, is that Christmas is about giving and receiving, about generosity with no strings attached.

What better example than the annual McCook Toybox program under way now, which takes those gifts, given with hearts of gratitude, adds the effort of dedicated volunteers, and helps deliver a little holiday cheer to families that might otherwise not be able to celebrate Christmas at all.

Started more than 49 years ago by Dr. Joe Magrath and the late Sharon Snyder as "Toys for Tots," the McCook Toy Box provides gifts for anyone who has a need.

From one bicycle and one wagon that first year, this year's array has grown to about 150 bicycles, plus wagons and scooters, stuffed animals, dolls, games and toys of all descriptions being collected for distribution Dec. 19, the Sunday before the Saturday, Dec. 25 holiday.

Volunteers have been at work year-around on the bicycles, and for weeks on the toys and other gifts now being collected.

If you have a clean, new or gently used gift for a child, you can leave it in an outside collection box at Alco, McCook Christian Church, Walmart, Dollar General or Charley's, or inside at the KICX offices, McCook Toy Box office at 113 East C, Ampride/Baskin Robbins, McCook National Bank, First Central Bank or Eakes Office Plus. Or, your monetary gift for the project is always welcome, at Sue Beebe's Head Start office, 106 West C in McCook.

And if your child needs a Christmas gift, and won't get one otherwise, come to the east door of the National Guard Armory, 404 W. Seventh, at 1 p.m. next Sunday, Dec. 19, but please don't bring sacks, bags or boxes.

Thanks to the dedicated volunteers who invest thousands of hours into the project, as well as those who donate money and toys, hundreds of area children will have a chance to learn first hand what Christmas is all about.

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