MARSHALL COUNTY - For well over a decade, volunteers with the Toys for Kids program have been working to ensure local children have presents under the tree at the Christmas.
Sponsored by the Marshall County Rotary Club, the program works alongside other entities in the county including Needline and the various Family Resource Centers to ensure needs of local families are met.
However, carrying out that mission is becoming increasingly difficult as the need has grown to such proportions that traditional fundraising activities are no longer sufficient to cover the cost.
Rotary Club spokesperson Cindy Riley says that this year, local groups are reporting more than 1,300 children will be in need of sponsorship.
While the Toys for Kids program alone received over 200 applications last year for assistance, Riley says they are expecting an even larger number this year.
As a result, Rotary members are asking local businesses, clubs, school groups or organizations to consider assisting the effort in any way possible.
Riley offered a few suggestions including the hosting of a toy drive, child sponsorships, or volunteering of time.
One school group, members of the MCHS Star Bank, have for several years running, opted to raise funds for the purpose of sponsoring children in the Toys for Kids program.
Students organize and participate in the annual Powderpuff Football game, raising enough to ‘adopt’ several angels. The students not only raise their own money, but they also travel to the store shopping for the children personally.
Those involved say students have learned a valuable lesson through participation in the program - that giving is far more rewarding than receiving.
For those looking to have the opportunity to participate as well, the cost of sponsorship is approximately $150 per child, as each is provided with three complete outfits, shoes, socks, undergarments and three to five age appropriate toys/recreational items.
Sponsors can either choose to shop for the child themselves, or allow volunteers to do the shopping for them.
“We would also like to ask for help during the week of December 10-14 with shopping, sorting and bagging of the items for the children,” Riley said. “This is a very large undertaking and we would love to have your help during this time.”