COSHOCTON − About 500 children in 192 families locally will have presents under their trees this Christmas thanks to the Coshocton County Firefighters Toy Chest.
The program is for low-income families in Coshocton County with children from newborn to age 15. Registration is closed for the year, but donations of toys or money to buy toys is ongoing. The goal is for each child to have at least one toy, but it's usually four or five said coordinator Laura Drake, who has been spearheading efforts for more than 15 years.
"We just want to make sure kids have gifts to open on Christmas morning," she said.
She said the program wouldn't be possible without the generosity of the community. This includes many local groups making donations or holding fundraisers.
"If the community didn't give us toys and money, we would never be able to do this. We're not funded by anyone, it's all based on donations from the community," Drake said.
Drake said they would like donations by Dec. 20, but they will be accepted until the end of the year with some late giving possible for emergencies, such as a family displaced by a fire. Pickup is Dec. 23 at the youth building of the Coshocton County Fairgrounds.
Top requested items this year include L.O.L. Surprise Dolls, Peppa Pig, Bluey, fishing equipment, scooters, bicycles, LEGO, dinosaurs, cars and trucks, remote control cars, Barbies, makeup and baby dolls, among others. The toy chest is working with Adison Smith who has a Miracle on Wheels bicycle drive to fulfill bike requests.
Drake said teenagers can be a struggle as they often aren't specific in what they want and they can be hard to shop for. They will sometimes get hygiene sets, jewelry, watches and wallets.
New unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Coshocton Fire Department, 325 S. Seventh St., and the Walhonding Valley Fire District, 100 Bridge St., Warsaw. Monetary donations can be mailed to Toy Chest, P.O. Box 133, Coshocton, OH 43218. For more information, go to the toy chest's Facebook page.
Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with more than 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.
This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Coshocton County Firefighters Toy Chest will help hundreds of families