Santa’s Toy Shoppe facing hurdles this season

Volunteers with Santa’s Toy Shoppe are working hard to ensure that, in these uncertain times, needy children in Eastern Canadian County have toys for Christmas.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe provides Christmas presents for children up to 15 years of age.
Last year alone, the organization provided toys for more than 1,200 children.
“We are hopeful to provide toys this year,” said Jim Poe, president of the nonprofit organization.
Poe said he expects to see an increase in need this year, but he’s not sure exactly how much.
And at the same time, the toy shoppe has other hurdles to clear.
“Because of the virus, we have lost the ability to utilize our volunteers from the past,” Poe said. “In the past, we’ve used pom squads, cheerleaders, church groups, soccer teams and volleyball teams, et cetera. We can’t use them this year.”
So, Poe is also in need of volunteers.
“If anyone would like to volunteer to assist, we’re going to adhere to all CDC suggestions, which means wearing face masks, social distancing and wearing gloves,” Poe said.
Plus, there’s the fact that many of the shoppe’s toy drop-off locations – which includes Yukon and Mustang fire stations, area schools and businesses like banks – may see reduced foot traffic or be unable to serve as a site this year.
Poe said he’s still in the process of contacting drop-off sites, and drop-off boxes are usually delivered Nov. 1.
“I’m anticipating less funding,” Poe said. “The reason for that is because our number one donation site has been Yukon and Mustang fire departments. They get the majority of our toys. Next are the schools, and I’m not certain as to what kind of toy drive the schools can do this year. Third is banks, and people aren’t really going inside banks.”
The toy shoppe, this year, has gone fully digital, Poe said.
All applications will be submitted and processed online, and recipients will receive emails the first week of December with a date, time and location to pick up their toys.
“Someone who is in need of toys can go to our website, follow the prompts and fill out the application,” Poe said. “From that application, we’ll advise them of their date, time and location for the toys.”
Poe said he’s unsure at the moment whether the organization will structure its distribution as it usually does, where parents and guardians “shop” for toys for their children, or if the shoppe will offer pre-packaged bundles for pickup.
For more information, or to apply for toys, visit www.ecctoyshoppe.com.

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