The Jaycees' annual Toybox project and Christmas for the Elderly once again will allow individuals, organizations and businesses the opportunity to give.
Items for Toybox will be accepted from Nov. 25 through Dec. 20. Organizer Tracy Haggerty said Toybox brings toys and gifts to children ages 1 to 12 whose families are unable to provide for their children on Christmas. Toybox works with the Salvation Army to identify families in need.
Haggerty said Toybox last served more than 400 families. This year, the need will be greater.
Haggerty said the budget for Toybox is $6,000 below what it was last year, even though she anticipates more applicants.
"As I teacher, I recognize the need firsthand for Toybox." she said. "The economy has increased the need, and families want to give their children a good Christmas. A lot of children get left out of the meaning of the season. There is a lot of need in Cape Girardeau."
Haggerty said the importance of Toybox is "bringing about a sense of community."
"The spirit of the season is to give back to others," she said. "Those in need can know that there are people out there willing to reach out to them, and those of us who are blessed can give back."
Haggerty said community response in past years has been humbling.
"Every year we have a moment of panic where we don't think we're going to make it, but every year the community pulls through and it falls together," she said
Toybox will have drop-off locations posted in the Southeast Missourian the week of Thanksgiving.
"It's touching to see people receive their gifts," Haggerty said.
Another way to give this season is through Christmas for the Elderly. Haggerty said the program helps older individuals in financial need receive the basics -- such as bedding, clothing, toiletries and more -- to make their lives more comfortable.
Individuals are nominated by caretakers and organizers who work with the Department of Senior Services. Items and donations will be accepted at the Southeast Missourian office at 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, beginning Thursday.
For more information, follow Haggerty's blog at www.semissourian.com
301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau.