Toybox, Christmas for the Elderly still accepting donations

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In its 33rd year, Toybox, sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Jaycees and the Southeast Missourian, will deliver toys to children this holiday season

Donations for Toybox can be dropped off at the Southeast Missourian office at 301 Broadway and should include the name of their recipient. Those who wish to donate cash or a check should make it payable to Toybox, P.O. Box 4, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702.

The Christmas for the Elderly program also still has unmet needs. The program is intended to help seniors who typically don't have a family, lack basic supplies and can't spend money to treat themselves to a Christmas.

Donations for previously run profiles can be dropped off at the Southeast Missourian office at 301 Broadway and should include the identifying letter of their recipient. To donate cash or a check, make it payable to Christmas for the Elderly, P.O. Box 4, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702.

Single mother working nights

Verla has lived in the area for just a short time. She moved here from St. Louis to attend Southeast Missouri State University. She had to put career plans on hold for a semester because she couldn't afford tuition, but Verla is determined to become an asset to her family. She will continue to pursue a degree in secondary education.

She is a single mother working the night shift full-time at a fast-food restaurant. Her recent 20-cents-an-hour raise has caused her to become ineligible for food assistance, and the only other public assistance she receives pays for just half of her day-care costs.

She gets no assistance from her daughter's father.

"After I pay rent and utilities there's nothing left of my check. That's why I'm asking for help from Toybox," she said. Loyal to her church, it is important to Verla to pay her tithe as well.

Working the night shift makes Verla's income a little higher than if she worked days, but she sacrifices sleep in the process. Her 3-year-old, Annette, sleeps in the evening at day care but is ready to go during the day. Verla said she tries to get a nap every time Annette does.

The zipper broke on Annette's winter coat and she's getting by with it, but a size 4T coat or other clothes would be helpful for this small family trying to remain as self-sufficient as possible. Suggestions to make Annette's Christmas dreams come true include anything involving Elmo or Dora the Explorer.

Dress-up clothes might make another nice gift. "She loves to dress and look like a girl," Verla said.

Taking classes with two children

The last three years have been pretty bad financially, said Ellen, a single mother of two. With the children's father out of the picture, Ellen had to move back in with her parents to be able to attend college full time. She is studying to be a medical specialist and will graduate soon.

"I try to work every weekend," she said. "The kids know and understand mommy does the best she can."

Help with toys and clothes would be a Christmas blessing.

Beth, 11, would like Barbie dolls, books at a fifth- to sixth-grade reading level and makeup. She is a size 16 1/2. "I was able to save up for a Middleton doll last year at Christmas but this year it's just out of the question," Ellen said. Another Middleton doll would be a special gift for Beth.

Eight-year-old James is asking for Pokemon games for the Nintendo DS. This would make his Christmas extra special. Games, books at a third- to fourth-grade reading level and cars are other selections. He is a size 10 slim in pants and a size 10 to 12 in shirts.

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