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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Toy drive yields nearly 2,000 gifts

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  • The St. James Sports Club Christmas toy program for 2013 is over, and many kids in the St. James school district had a better Christmas because of it.
    This year we acquired, wrapped and delivered 1700-2000 gifts to 425 kids in 175 families. If you had to buy these gifts off the shelf, it would cost approximately $12,000-$15,000, quite an undertaking for an orgaanization the size of the Sports Club.
    If you were lucky enough to see the joy on the kid’s faces when Santa delivered them, you would see why it is worth the time, effort and expense to do this program.
    Again this year we received very little help from the St. James people - none from the clubs, organizations, businesses, or people in town. Most of our toy boxes stayed empty except for the ones at Dollar General, Community Bank, V.F.W., Walmart DC, and Tacony Mfg. We also received gifts from the Toys for Tots program, most from the Ft. Wood area, from military members and vets, who have given so much already. I thank these great people along with Bill & Mary Ellen Kirgan, Frank & Shelia Verkamp, Dennis & Lynn Wilson, Joe Cardetti, (4 Eagle Scouts) Rod & Bob Edwards, Ed Pearson, and Ramona Rinehart and her staff at the Caring Center. Also, some I may have missed.
    I also thank our wonderful people who wrapped and delivered the gifts. To wrap alone, it took approximately 40 people 6 hours. This is like 1 person working 6 – 40 hour work weeks.
    I say this every year, but next year please think about helping with this program. We are 501c3 club, one of the few in St. James. We have been doing this program for almost 50 years, and each year the need is greater and the help from the community is less. If we do not start getting help, it is possible that this program as we see it now will cease to exist.
    The Sports Club does not as for financial help except for Christmas toys and for hole sponsors at our golf tournament. As I have said before, the Sports Club gets their money by earning it, but this program is becoming more difficult to maintain. Along with Christmas toys, the Sports Club sponsors almost all of the out of school programs. Some of your grandparents in St. James wore uniforms provided by the Sports Club, now it should be pay back time.
    If every person in the St. James school district, who could afford it, would donate a couple of $5-10-15 toys, then every child in need in the district would have a better Christmas.
    Who do we think Christmas is about? What do we think the first Chritmas was about? Didn’t a group of people who could afford if give gifts to a child that needed them? Why do you think we call these people “Wise Men”?
    Page 2 of 2 - Remember, in the Sports Club, Christmas toys start the week after Christmas, not the week before.

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