Jaycees start Toybox drive for needy children

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The drive to deliver Christmas toys to local families in need begins today with the Cape Jaycees' 39th annual Toybox program.

"Toybox is really all about giving back," said Tracy Haggerty, Toybox coordinator. "Every kid deserves to have a joyful Christmas."

Haggerty said Toybox accepts donations of new toys for children age 1 to 12 who live within the Cape Girardeau city limits. The toys will be collected by the Jaycees from drop boxes at local businesses through Dec. 19.

"Each child will receive up to four or five toys and also stocking-stuffer items," she said.

Toybox served about 400 Cape Girardeau families last year, Haggerty said.

"We expect to serve anywhere from 350 to 400 families this year," she said. "It could be more. It all depends on the number of applications."

Applications to receive Toybox gifts are being taken at the Cape Girardeau Salvation Army through Friday.

"The list of families who have already applied is longer than I expected," said Capt. Ronnie Amick of the Salvation Army. "What we're asking is for people to help us help others."

Toybox also coordinates with Toys for Tots, the toy drive sponsored by the Marine Corps League, so their efforts don't overlap.

"Toys for Tots doesn't serve the city of Cape," said Richard Bollwerk, coordinator of Toys For Tots. "We serve communities in Cape Girardeau County like Jackson and Oak Ridge. If we get an application that's within

the city limits, we'll transfer it to Toybox and vice versa."

Haggerty said the Cape Jaycees fund the Toybox program through fundraisers such as its annual barbecue and golf tournament.

"About 90 percent of our fundraising proceeds go to Toybox," she said.

Haggerty said coordinating the Toybox program, though rewarding, is sometimes stressful.

"The stress comes toward the end when we're not sure if we'll be able to serve all of the families," she said. "But the community always comes through."

The Cape Jaycees also are working on their other program, Christmas for the Elderly, which provides necessities such as groceries, pharmaceutical items and other supplies to elderly people with a financial need. The Division of Health and Senior Services nominates 40 candidates for the program each year.

"Christmas for the Elderly typically sustains itself," Haggerty said. "It mainly receives monetary donations, which is different from going out and shopping for toys. But we're grateful for everything we receive with both programs. We're fortunate to have a community that gives so much."

Donations of toys and necessary items for Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly can be made through Dec. 19 at the Southeast Missourian at 301 Broadway. Toys for Toybox can also be dropped off at other participating businesses. Tax-deductible monetary donations for both programs can be sent or dropped off at the Southeast Missourian or mailed to P.O. Box 4, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702.

For more information on the Cape Jaycees' Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly programs, follow Haggerty's blog at semissourian.com.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent addresses:

301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

701 Good Hope St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: