With just five days left in the toy drive, some 400 children in our community still need toys. Pequita Casteel, toy drive coordinator, said she will continue accepting toys and cash donations until Friday, Dec. 18.
According to Casteel, this year, the drive is only at approximately 40% of the items it needs to provide for applicants, when most years they would be at 70%.
“I’m not worried,” Casteel said. “I know some of our annual contributors will be in next week. The Lord will provide. How can I have both faith and doubt? I simply trust in Him.”
Toys for children of all ages are needed. Monetary donations, both cash and checks, are also accepted and are used toward purchasing requested items. Checks should be made payable to the Herald-Press.
This year the drive is in severe need of bicycles, as well as toys and games for children between the ages of 8 and 12.
“We have requests for at least 10 bicycles and could use donations to go and purchase them,” Casteel said. “We will be grateful for whatever people bring. Each year, we do our best to give each child three toys, however, this year, we need all toys, including stuffed animals to be new due to the pandemic.”
The Stocking Stuffer Toy Drive is in its 21st year.
This drive is executed at the Herald-Press office, from application to delivery, and benefits disadvantaged families in Anderson County. Help is received annually from the local Toys for Tots Toy Drive and coordinator Amanda Malone and her volunteers. Malone said she would be in next week.
Casteel will devote the next week, a week of her personal vacation time, to sorting donated toys, purchasing new ones, and contacting families of children who requested toys.
Donations can be dropped off at the Herald-Press office, 519 N. Elm St., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For information, call Casteel at 903-729-0281.