Douglas County Toys for Tots volunteers made their final push Saturday at collecting 6,100 toys to give for Christmas to youngsters in need.
"It's a huge task," said Roni Bregman, board volunteer. "This is our last big hoorah."
The organization has been collecting toys since Thanksgiving and will begin distributing them to families in need Wednesday.
"We don't want any children to be without gifts for Christmas," said Mary Jones, who has coordinated the event for the past 10 years.
Last year, the group collected enough toys to give to 1,597 children, and it's expecting an even greater need this year, she said.
On Saturday, people dropped off gifts at the Dole Institute of Politics, on Kansas University's West Campus, as part of the group's "Drive for 500" event.
Guests were invited to stick around and participate in a silent auction, which raised about $2,000 to buy more gifts, Jones said.
"It was quite successful," she said.
Santa Claus kept the kids occupied, with the help of Alan Cunningham, of Ottawa, who solicited kids to play instruments as he strummed his guitar and sang, "Chuga, chuga, chuga goes the choo-choo train."
"I think it's neat," Brian Green said. "We like to help out any way we can."
Pam Willits, of McLouth, said she brings her children to the event each year to remind them that "it's better to give than receive."
"This just shows them that there are kids and people out there that are unfortunate," she said. "We've been really lucky in our lives, and it's sharing what we've been given."
The organization is part of the national U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
Toys for Tots is still asking for donations and has placed drop boxes throughout Lawrence where toys can be dropped off, Bregman said. Drop-off locations include both Lawrence Hy-Vee stores, Borders, Checkers and Wal-Mart.
"Lawrence has never disappointed us," she said. "In all the years that Toys for Tots has been in operation, the people of Lawrence have come through. And we're hoping that they do this again."
For more information on donating, or if you know a family in need, call 766-3023 or visit www.toysfortotsdgcoks.org.
More about Toys for Tots
- Holiday donations still being sought (12-09-06)
- 6News video: Adopt-a-family in need of more support (12-08-06)
- Holiday Shop teaches children the art of gift giving (12-06-06)
- Toys for Tots hopes to fill growing need (12-02-06)
- Agencies link donors with those in need (11-24-06)
- Bikers rev up for Toys for Tots benefit ride (11-03-06)