The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Time is Running Out for Toys For Tots Drive

 

December 7, 2018



Gift-giving is for children, people often say. However, watching a child beam with excitement after receiving an unexpected gift will put a smile on nearly anyone.

That is the goal of the Marine toys for Tots program, to bring the joy of Christmas and a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children, according to Matt Gudahl, Cheyenne County Coordinator.

The Toys For Tots program is nearing completion for 2018 with distribution scheduled for Dec. 15. The final date for donating a toy is Dec. 14. Boxes will be picked up from businesses the night of Dec. 13. If someone has a donation on Dec. 14, they can drop it off at the First United Methodist Church in Sidney. Volunteers will make sure they get delivered to families.

“Our distribution this year will be next Saturday Dec. 15 at the First United Methodist Church here in Sidney,” Gudahl said.

Cheyenne County has been involved in the Toys for Tots program for 10 years.

“Our goal each year is to provide help to those families who may not be able to purchase toys for their children for Christmas,” said Gudahl.

Gudahl has served as the county coordinator for five years. He said one of the motivations is knowing a child’s excitement in opening gifts on Christmas morning.

“Each year, our goal is to collect enough donations that each child who applies to receive toys and is approved will have at least three toys, one stocking stuff, and a puzzle or board game to open as gifts,” he said.

Parents that have applied and been approved will be allowed to come in and select the toys they would like for their kids. The doors open up at 8 a.m. and only about four parents will be selecting toys at a time. Once a gift is selected, volunteers can wrap the present in preparation for Christmas morning.

“One thing I hear every year from our volunteers is how amazing it is to be able to connect with a family and get to know each other,” he said.

Gudahl commends the Cheyenne and Kimball county supporters for their donations.

“We have a very supportive community in Cheyenne and Kimball County and it amazes us each year how we all come together for this one goal. We have several locations that have collection boxes and several new ones this year.”

Anyone still hoping to donate a toy can do so at local drop boxes. Collection boxes can be found at the following locations:  Marine Toys for Tots, American Bank of Sidney, Bomgaars, Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce, Cheyenne County Community Center, Dairy Queen, First United Methodist Church, Great Western Bank, Panhandle Automotive Center, Sidney Regional Medical Center Cafe, Sidney Regional Medical Center Coffee Cure, The Post Gas Station and Western Nebraska Community College. Some of the locations offer incentives for donating toys.

Toys not accepted include realistic looking weapons and gifts with food. Gifts should be for children up to 12 years of age; in some cases 14 to 16 years of age.

For more information, see the Toys for Tots website at sidney-ne.toysfortots.org.

 

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