Douglas County's Toys for Tots program spreads some holiday cheer to children.
Since its beginning in 1947, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots program has provided toys for needy children at Christmas time.
For the past six years, Sunflower Cablevision and the Salvation Army of Lawrence have provided Douglas County children with Christmas toys.
"Everything that is collected from the telethon stays in Douglas County, and what we collect in cash is donated to the program," said Jan McNish, Douglas County Director for Toys For Tots. "All of the administrative fees and cost of doing the telethon have already been paid for by sponsors."
Toys collected from individuals, companies and organizations throughout Douglas County are taken to the Salvation Army, 1818 Mass., for distribution Dec. 13 and 14 at a toy store set up in Building 21 at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper.
"Parents are allowed to pick out a predetermined amount of toys, and they try to vary it with one educational toy, a toy of the year and a stuffed animal," McNish said.
McNish said to be eligible for the program, participants have to register at the Salvation Army, be a resident of Douglas County, be able to show proof of low income and have Social Security numbers.
After registering with the Salvation Army, eligible participants will receive a letter in the mail designating a time that they may shop at the toy store.
"This is the sixth year for the Sunflower Cablevision Toys For Tots telethon, but the Salvation Army has been doing Toys For Tots for the last hundred years or more in Lawrence," said Capt. Violet Windham of the Salvation Army. "I have a women's auxiliary, and they help to organize and distribute toys for the toy store."
Windham said the Toys For Tots program is an important way to help give every child in Lawrence a merry Christmas.
"It supplements what the parents can give, and sometimes it's the only thing the parents can give," Windham said.
The Toys For Tots telethon will air from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 10 on Channel 6.