The Times West Virginian

November 24, 2013

Generosity can make this Friday’s Christmas Toy Shop biggest, best in its five-year history

Times West Virginian

— Every child deserves a good Christmas.

That’s the philosophy that led to the first Christmas Toy Shop on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, in 2009.

Now we’re in the closing stages to make Friday’s fifth annual event — from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., at the Election Center, located next to Palatine Park in the former Bauer Lumber building — the biggest and best.

“In the terms of financial giving, last year was definitely the best year,” Pastor Holley Faulkner said. “That was evidenced by the fact that we had enough toys to hold the Toy Shop for two days for the first time.”

Last year, the community raised more than $15,000 to purchase new toys. This year, the organizers set the goal at $17,500. With just a few days left, the goal is still about $10,000 away.

Faulkner,  the unofficial leader of the all-volunteer leadership team for the Christmas Toy Shop, though, is confident that this community can make it happen.

“I have always been a person who works toward community connectivity, the Baptist Temple pastor said. “And I don’t know that I’ve seen anything that we’ve done as a county cooperative effort that has been more cohesive with so many groups — the county commission, the schools, businesses, churches, civic organizations, political groups.

“And then there are a ton of individuals stepping up, with donations, sorting toys, volunteering. It’s just glorious to see the county come together and put all of this effort toward one day, four and a half hours, and make a big difference in someone’s life.”

Another goal this year is to provide gifts for even more young people.

Organizers increased the age limit from 12 to 14, which would include children through the junior high level.

“Now we can bless a lot more families and a lot more lives,” Faulkner said.

There’s more to be done leading up to Friday’s Christmas Toy Shop.

Donations are still being accepted at the Times West Virginian offices during regular business hours, or they can can be mailed to The Baptist Temple, 430 Morgantown Ave., Fairmont, WV 26554.

All financial gifts will be listed as they are received on Page 1 of the Times West Virginian.

Donation of new or “previously loved” toys, as well as bikes, sporting goods, electronic equipment, etc., is welcome as well.

All toys should be in “like-new” condition. If batteries are needed for a toy or game, please include them.

These items can be brought to the Election Center weekdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Volunteers began sorting toys and setting up the Toy Shop on Nov. 18.

We appreciate the strong community support of past years and are confident that this Friday will again be a special day in Marion County when parents and grandparents shop for the children they love so much.

“We can help them for one moment, let them have one day to get a little relief from anxieties that a child should not have to grapple with,” Faulkner said. “It also takes a little of the stress off the parents, and that’s a huge thing.”

Our community can take pride in all they do to ensure a good Christmas in the homes of their neighbors.