• Any Douglas County resident with children who needs help acquiring toys (cannot be receiving similar assistance from other agencies.
• Families needing assistance are encouraged to call 785-764-6203 to make a shopping appointment.
How can I help?
• Drop off a toy at any of the toy drop boxes located across the community, or donate money or gifts directly. The store is at 4821 W. Sixth St. and is open Tuesday through Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Assistance will be provided — even on Christmas Day.
• For more information and for a list of locations of toy drop boxes, visit lawrence-ks.toysfortots.org.
• Toys for Tots will also be hosting numerous events across the area in the coming weeks. Visit its website for a full list of events.ô
If the Toys for Tots Toy Shop is the Santa’s Workshop of Lawrence, then Mary Jones is as close to being Mrs. Claus as anyone in the area.
Jones, coordinator for the local Toys for Tots program, spends her days among a hearty supply of toys, and she knows as well as anyone what’s hot in the toy world.
This year’s popular toy, she explains, is the Sing-A-Ma-Jig singing dolls. The dolls continue to belt out tunes while Jones and fellow board member Julie Brown work the phones and collect donations of toys.
The shop, 4821 W. Sixth St., provides a festive atmosphere for the parents who will soon start coming in looking for presents. And letting the parents choose a gift is central to the philosophy of the organization, Jones said.
“We like the idea that the parents get to shop,” she said.
Through donations from the community and collections from various businesses around the area, Toys for Tots provides toys for needy families in Douglas County.
With various other community agencies providing help over the holidays, Toys for Tots seeks to help those families who may have never needed assistance before or the “working poor,” Jones said.
But, with a few weeks until Christmas, Jones says there’s a lot of work left to do. As she surveys the toy shop, she estimates that they have enough toys for about 600 kids — far short of the 3,000 requests they expect to get this year.
The number of requests climbs every year, she said, but the need always seems to get met.
“I used to get nervous, and it really did me no good,” she said.
This year, as in other years, she’s confident Lawrence residents will step up.
“They always do,” Jones said.