For Jim Poe, it is all about the children. It’s all about making sure the children of Eastern Canadian County have toys under their trees on Christmas Day.
Poe, who heads Santa’s Toy Shoppe, said the organization dates to at least 2001, with the goal of providing toys to children in Yukon, Mustang, Piedmont and a small portion of Oklahoma City that resides in Canadian County.
“We’ve been doing this for at least 17 years,” Poe said recently while munching on butter pecan ice cream.
The program was formed by the Salvation Army to provide toys for children in need.
Eventually, they handed the work over to Poe and his crew of volunteers.
This year, Poe said he expects that at least 300 families will benefit from the Toy Shoppe’s annual giveaway, which is scheduled for Dec. 15 at a secret location.
Poe said more than 170 applications already have been received through the Yukon and Mustang fire departments.
“That doesn’t include the Yukon or Mustang School Districts,” he said.
Applications from the school districts will arrive in the next few days.
Poe said last year, about 300 families were assisted during an event that last much of the day.
Dozens of high school students are expected to volunteer for this year’s excursion, which begins at 9 a.m.
Families that are participating will be notified by mail about their time to shop.
Poe said about 15 families at a time will go on a shopping spree in 15-minute intervals. They can shop as long as they need, though each family is limited in what they can choose.
Only parents or legal guardians are allowed during the shopping period.
The project is entirely funded through donations — cash and toys.
Poe said toys can be dropped off at Fire Station No. 1 on East Main in Yukon, as well as several local bank locations, several hair salons and Spanish Cove.
There also are drop-off locations at the Mustang Fire Station, as well as several Mustang businesses.
Cash donations can be sent to Santa’s Toy Shoppe, P.O. Box 850011, Yukon OK 73085. Donations are tax deductible.
“I am not surprised by the number of families. I am more surprised by the outpouring of the community,” he said.
The greatest need for toys is for teenage boys as well as those who are between 4 and 6, Poe said. They are hardest to shop for.
‘We want to ensure that every child has toys under the tree. It is the reason we were established,” he said.
For more information on the program, volunteering or making a donation, contact Poe at 740-7882.