Marion Countians are known for their generosity.
This holiday season, they’ve elevated the act of giving to a higher level.
We’re talking about the Christmas Toy Shop, which was held for the fourth time on Black Friday — the day following Thanksgiving that is considered the “unofficial” opening of the Christmas shopping season.
The huge toy giveaway at the Marion County Election Center, the former Bauer’s Lumber building on Auburn Street, was a great success.
Even better news is that, for the first time, there will be a second day for the Christmas Toy Shop. Because of the overwhelming generosity of the Marion County community with donations of new toys and money, a second round will be held from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the same location.
The theme from the first day the Toy Shop was discussed is that every kid deserves a good Christmas. This year, even more Marion County families will get some assistance.
Pastor Holley Faulkner of The Baptist Temple, who has been involved with the Toy Shop for four years, said it was created to help take some economic stress off parents, grandparents and guardians in the county when it came to having Christmas gifts for children.
Donations of new and gently used toys poured in. This year, between 50,000 and 60,000 donation pieces were collected over the last four weeks.
Then there was the cash used to purchase even more toys. The goal of $10,000 was far surpassed.
“(Donations of money) really picked up in the past 10 days or so,” Faulkner said. “We had about $5,000 in donations last year; we’re going to be well over $15,000 this year.”
The result is a second day of giving.
The volunteers — such a tremendous asset — will again be eager to be on hand.
Marsha Fluharty was there all day Friday.
“I think it’s an awesome thing to do,” she said. “God teaches us to help others, so that’s what we do, and we all enjoy doing it — we’re all here because we enjoy helping.”
If you need gifts for the children in your life, please show up on Tuesday.
The adults go with volunteers to pick out toys for each registered child. Each shopper receives two tickets per registered child to use to pick out toys. The tables in the shop are arranged by age.
Before going through checkout, the shoppers get other things to put with their toys.
“They each get a book, coloring book, crayons, grab bags and a stuffed animal,” Fluharty said. “They really leave with a good bit. It’s more than just the two toys per child — they get their other things that don’t cost them a ticket.”
Marion Countians should take pride that the Toy Shop, the brainchild of several of Fairmont’s leaders three years ago, has shown such growth.
“This is a way we can reach out to the whole county to help,” Faulkner said.
“It doesn’t matter what economic status or anything,” he added. “Anybody is entitled and welcome to shop here for their children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.”
Marion County, thanks so much for your incredible generosity.
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