Toybox donations down to the wire

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The money trickled in late Tuesday and Wednesday but not nearly as much as in years past.

Toybox is a program of the Southeast Missourian and Cape Girardeau Jaycees that provides gifts to needy children up to age 12. The program usually receives at least $25,000 in cash donations and a like amount in contributed toys.

This year both were down.

"It's going to be tough starting next year," said treasurer Mike Seabaugh.

Usually Toybox volunteers can go shopping at holiday sales on the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of bargain prices. But without savings in a bank account, that's unlikely to happen.

Toybox collected about $4,000 in the last few days but had to spend some of that to finish filling requests before delivery.

On Wednesday, volunteers filled the last 40 requests, and double checked applications to make sure that every child had a present.

"By this time we're normally done and waiting for delivery night," said Dean Reeves. Today, Jaycees will be working up to the last minute.

No one is exactly sure what has caused the slow down in donations. "You can't say it's the economy because it's no worse off than last year," Reeves said.

Seabaugh believes it might be some confusion from the number of similar programs in the region. Toybox provides gifts for children within the Cape Girardeau city limits. The U.S. Marine Corps has a similar program, "Toys for Tots," that donates gifts to children in the county.

"It's probably just a combination of factors," Seabaugh said.

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