Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT - With the holiday season just weeks away and coronavirus cases rising nationwide, many families are struggling financially, meaning many local toy drives are expecting to see a surge in families asking for assistance.
Even in the middle of a pandemic, local toy drives have seen a good show of support as they prepare for a turbulent holiday season.
To keep people safe, some have had to change their methods, moving from a toy donation collection to an 'adopt-a-child” method.
Local community organizations are doing their best to make sure local families can still have Christmas, including organizations like the Fellowship Cup and the Tolson Community Action Center.
Families in need of assistance or those who would like to donate can find information below about where and how to help and continue to spread holiday cheer.
The Fellowship Cup is looking to make Christmas special for local families and kids. The nonprofit is continuing its annual Christmas adopt-a-family tradition and has opened its signup through Dec. 3 or until it hits its 90-child limit.
The signup is open to clients of the Fellowship Cup's food pantry or families who have used the nonprofit's summer lunch program. During signup, parents will write down their child's name, age, gender, clothing size and whether the child would enjoy a board game or a toy.
The form is handed off to a member of the community who has volunteered to 'adopt” the child for Christmas. The nonprofit asks for gifts to be returned by Dec. 15 already wrapped. The Fellowship Cup will call families when gifts are ready for pickup.
Ken Brown, executive director of the nonprofit, said local churches often take on upward of 20 kids in addition to businesses and individuals who help provide some Christmas cheer to families in need. Between the nonprofit, the local police department and Community Action, Brown said usually about 300 children are given gifts each holiday season.
'We work together to make sure no kids get left out,” Brown said.
Brown added all families who come to pick up gifts are 'overwhelmed and gracious to receive help.”
'I wish people could see the looks on faces. When we give the gifts out, there are tears,” he said.
Those who wish to participate in the adopt-a-family gift drive can do so by contacting the Fellowship Cup at 319-385-3242.
This year instead of hosting its annual toy drive Tolson Community Action Center is hosting an 'Adopt-A-Kid” style toy drive this year, due to COVID-19. Kelly Morgan will be pairing families in need with local businesses or families that are in the giving spirit.
Those who sign up will be given a questionnaire to ensure the donated gift is well-liked.
Morgan will be pairing those who wish to donate with a family that they can provide for. So far Kelly has seen only a few families contact her about assistance, although the center usually assists around 10-20 families with Christmas each year.
Those who are in need can sign up by calling the Tolson Community Action Center at 319-385-2310 and talking with Kelly. Those interested in giving can contact Kelly at 319-385-2310.