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Toys for Tots looking for a few good elves

Christmas is fast approaching, but Toys for Tots still needs a few good elves to help make it a merry one for Lamar County families.

“Toy collection has been really slow this year, and the number of applications has increased,” said Angela Ward, the YWCA executive director. “This weekend is going to be critical. If you see a Toys for Tots box somewhere, stop and buy a toy and put it in there.”

Volunteers spent Tuesday evening sorting toys already collected by age and category. As they worked, gaps became apparent. There’s a desperate need for toys for girls ages 1-8. As of Tuesday, the shelves were completely bare for ages 1-2. Toys are also needed for both boys and girls ages 9-13, as well as boys ages 1-3.

YWCA has also seen a decrease in donations for its food drive. The organization offers a two-week food basket along with the toys given out. Christmas break is a time when kids who normally get meals at school, putting strain on families’ food budgets. To get the basket, recipients have to commit to participating in the YWCA’s jobs program.

Donations can be dropped off at the YWCA or the tunnel of lights at Crazy House Western Wear.

Volunteers are also needed to package toys from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 11-14. Contact the YWCA or simply show up to help. As wrapping begins next week, Toys for Tots would like to receive donations before Dec. 12.

“We can always take more toys, but we would like to have them before the 12th,” Ward said.

For those who need a little help making a merry Christmas, there’s still time to get your application in for Toys for Tots, but you need to hurry. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday.

Toys for Tots is a mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve started in 1947 to provide a new, unwrapped toy for needy children at Christmas. The local effort is overseen by the Sgt. J. Hoskins Detachment of the Marine Corps League. The local YWCA also helps. A former boxing ring has been converted into a Toys for Tots warehouse, and the Y handles applications for those seeking toys.

“If any offices want to include it as part of their office party, that would be a good idea,” Ward said.

For more information, contact the YWCA at 903-785-5221.

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