Toybox: Delivering joy, one child at a time by Tracy Haggerty en-us The Children First Asking for help is not always easy. For many families in the Cape Girardeau Community this stands true but as Anne* states, "Sometimes you have to put your pride aside, put your own personal feelings second and think of your children first." Anne is one of over 320 families that will be assisted by the Cape Jaycees Toybox Project this holiday season. A single mother of three, just paying the utilities and putting food on the table is a challenge month to month. When the Christmas... Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:05:07 -0600 From Santa's Workshop to Homes Recently, I had a community member stop me and ask what happens to their donations for the Jaycee Christmas Projects from the time they drop them off until they reach the hands of families or seniors in the area. What does the journey look like for the gifts that our community shares with others through Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly? Donations are collected by members of the Jaycees and taken to "Santa's Workshop" where they are tagged as gifts and sorted by gender and age.... Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:40:25 -0600 Preparing For the Season Thanksgiving has come and gone, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are past and now it is time for the Christmas Season! With the Holidays just around the corner, the Cape Jaycees are gearing up in preparation for the Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly projects. With fundraising profits down for the 2016 season at our annual Golf Tournament and BBQ Fest, we are in dire need of support from the wonderful community. The Salvation Army collected and handed off applications for 321... Sun, 27 Nov 2016 09:01:35 -0600 Christmas Traditions: Jaycee Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly Another Christmas season just around the corner. Shopping for loved ones, baking cookies, singing carols, and wrapping gifts are just a few of the many traditions that families have in celebration of the holiday. Throughout the community, traditions are shared among families and friends: the Parade of Lights, Downtown Christmas Open House, home tours and Black Friday Shopping are filling up calendars for the month of December. Another tradition of the Cape Girardeau Community is the Jaycee... Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:38:56 -0600 That's a Wrap! With unseasonably warm weather in the air, it doesn't feel much like December but for the Cape Jaycees, the Christmas spirit is alive and well! The generosity and kindness of the community, once again, proved to be remarkable and the Christmas for the Elderly and Toybox projects for 2015 were a tremendous success. Santa delivered toys to more than 1100 boys and girls in the community and over 50 senior citizens were gifted with needs this holiday season. Thank you for 41 years of support in... Wed, 23 Dec 2015 15:50:58 -0600 The Hustle and Bustle Jaycee members have been busy the past couple of weeks. Caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly projects are at the top of their list with delivery dates quickly approaching! There is still so much to do -- Santa's "bags" to be filled, "sleighs" to be loaded and Christmas joy to be spread throughout our community. With over 370 families combined, it is not a small task. As you are out and about in the upcoming week, please consider... Fri, 11 Dec 2015 09:02:38 -0600 The Spirit of Giving The stores around town are bustling with people getting ready for the Christmas holiday. Storefronts are sprinkled with snow and sparkling lights; strangers share a friendly smile as they push through the aisles filling their carts with gifts for loved ones. The Christmas spirit is alive. For some that spirit is threatened by thoughts of disappointing their little ones this holiday season as financial struggles bear down on families in our communities. Through your participation in the... Wed, 02 Dec 2015 09:35:54 -0600 "Making a List...Checking It Twice" I think we would all agree that the Holiday season seems to come earlier and earlier every year. For the Cape Jaycees, it never ends. We have been in the planning stages of our Christmas projects, Christmas for the Elderly and Toybox, since the calendar turned to 2016. With all this planning, excitement is building as we near the time when our efforts are shared with others, we are "making a list and checking it twice"! In its 41st year of existence, the Jaycee Toybox services over 1200... Tue, 17 Nov 2015 15:21:53 -0600 Forty Years Strong Forty years...and counting! What an awesome statement the success of the Jaycee Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly projects makes for our community. The generosity of individuals and businesses is nothing short of amazing! In a time when need is great for some and blessings in abundance for others - it is wonderful to see efforts made during the holiday season to find balance for the less fortunate. There are so many that we need to thank - thank you to Kidds Convenience store, Dominos... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:37:52 -0600 Toys for Struggling Families While many of us look forward to the joy of Christmas every year, celebrating with family and friends and giving and receiving gifts, for some the Christmas season brings with it worry and stress. How do you pay for gifts for your children when Dad has lost his job, medical expenses have piled up, or there is no work to be found to support the cost of living for your family? The families of the Jaycee Toybox are facing many of these trials and more. "Daniel" was laid off his factory job... Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:56:33 -0600 The Hustle and Bustle Has Begun... We are less than two weeks out from delivery for the Jaycee Christmas for the Elderly and Toybox projects and there is still SOO much to do. Jaycee members can be seen out with carts full of toys and elderly needs as they work their way through the crowds this holiday season. With only 1/3 of our Toybox applications currently filled, "Santa's workshop" is running low on toy donations and the budget is dwindling quickly! So what do we need...TOYS for all age/genders and monetary donations... Sun, 07 Dec 2014 07:42:43 -0600 Holiday Giving Means Christmas Joy for All "Dear Santa, thank you sooooooo much for the toys. I love you and I know I will love my gifts. Merry Christmas, Santa!" Taped to a paper plate of cookies, these are the words of a 7 year old girl who was gifted by donations from the Toybox Project. Every year the community gives to the Jaycee Toybox Project and Christmas for the Eldery - but they miss out on the response and appreciation that the members of the Jaycee Organization get to experience first-hand. Therefore, I thought I... Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:48:31 -0600 Just Another Day at Santa's Workshop Long before the Christmas season begins, the Cape Jaycees begin planning for their annual Christmas Projects: Christmas for the Elderly and Toybox. From fundraising efforts in the summer months to early clearance shopping, months of preparation go into the implementation of the Jaycee Holiday Programs. Here is a look behind the scenes at "Santa's Workshop"... In September when many of the large retail chains begin preparing their shelves for Christmas stocking -- the Jaycee Elves are... Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:48:46 -0600 Last Minute Needs for Toybox As we enter delivery week, the Jaycee Toybox Project needs your help! In our efforts to fill "Santa Wish lists" for the children of Cape Girardeau, we are in need of toys for our older age group, 10-12, for both boys and girls. "Clare" is raising twins, a boy and a girl age 11, on the earnings from waitressing two jobs. She often goes from her lunch shift and rolls straight into a dinner shift while a neighbor helps watch the children. She knows that this is not an ideal situation for... Mon, 16 Dec 2013 16:42:37 -0600 Community Committment Every year I am overwhelmed by the Community's commitment to helping others during the holiday season. For 39 years, individuals and businesses have reached out to those in need through the Jaycee Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly programs. Through gift donations, monetary support, and hours of volunteer work, we are able to give to over 1500 children and 30+ senior citizens in need every year. Creative ways to get others involved surface in small groups, work places, and individually in... Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:28:02 -0600 Animals Warm the Heart Rather you prefer a frisky feline or a mischievous puppy, most would agree that animals bring joy to a home. Coming home at the end of a hard day to someone who loves you unconditionally or snuggling on a cold, snowy afternoon - animals warm the heart! For some this is a living, breathing pet and others - the "stuffed" variety does the job! Ms. T finds great joy in her two dogs. They provide companionship when times get lonely and security for her living alone. Pets don't come at a... Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:30:36 -0600 Countdown to Delivery The Jaycees are working hard at the peak of their annual Christmas projects, Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly. With over 350 families in need of toys for the holiday and over 35 elderly seeking assistance, Santa's "elves" are busy at work! With just shy of two weeks left in the Toybox Drive and the Christmas for the Elderly project heading closer to delivery date, we are looking to the community to help us wrap up another successful year. When asked about participation in Christmas... Mon, 09 Dec 2013 19:31:01 -0600 The Single Life Living alone in your late years or raising children alone as a single parent can create a sense of isolation and despair for individuals. Living "the single life" brings with it financial struggles and challenges in daily living. Mrs. B is an elderly woman who struggles with high blood pressure and is constrained to a wheelchair. With no family support around, she counts on the support of her caretakers and with limited income, her SSI check provides the bare essentials with no... Sun, 08 Dec 2013 18:53:46 -0600 Special Needs Challenge Young and Old Alike Living with a Developmental Disability presents challenges in basic daily living. Add financial struggles and additional health concerns and these challenges are multiplied. Mr. R is challenged with developmental disabilities and is facing dialysis for kidney failure. With a small Social Security check as his only source of income, his medical expenses and basic living needs are difficult to cover from month to month. For this Christmas Holiday, Mr. R has requested a Queen size... Fri, 06 Dec 2013 13:38:34 -0600 And We're Off! The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone - Black Friday is behind us - and Christmas is just around the corner. The Jaycees are in full swing on the Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly projects for the 2013 Holiday season. Up approximately 30 applications from last year's numbers, we have begun the work of collecting and gathering toys and fundraising for monetary donations to fill those voids on the shelves of our warehouse. At this time, we are finding voids in donations for our older... Sat, 30 Nov 2013 15:34:12 -0600