Parks and Recreation spreads holiday cheer to more than 300 children
COLUMBIA — Columbia Parks and Recreation is accepting donations for the Almeta Crayton Memorial Toys for Columbia’s Youth Toy Drive.
The toy drive is for the holiday seasons and has accepted donations since the beginning of this month.
In order for parents to get toys for their children, they have to sign up and get approved by the agency.
Recreational specialist Bill Thompson said this toy drive is unique to Columbia because it's sole focus is on toys for kids in need.
“Holiday is a time when basically everything is just hectic for everybody,” Thompson said. “So if we can take some of that pressure off of parents and be able to provide toys for their children this allows them to take some of their other funds and meet their needs for the family.”
Thompson said each year the toy drive serves between 300 to 400 children.
The toy drive’s goal is for each child to receive two toys each.
Resident Keith Fletcher said he has a niece and nephew whom he plans to pick up toys from the drive for.
“I think it will help them by taking some weight off my sister’s shoulders,” Fletcher said. “Every parent wants to get their kids something for Christmas and stuff like that, and not being able to it kind of makes you feel like I’m not good enough.”
The toy drive accepts cash donations, new toys and used toys.
Columbia residents can drop off donations and toys to the Parks and Recreation office, the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC), different fire departments and more locations throughout the city.
The agency target kids between the ages of three through 12 and works closely with agencies like the Salvation Army and the Voluntary Action Center to ensure families are really in need.
People are able to donate until the beginning of December and parents are scheduled to pick up the donations Dec. 14 and 15.
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