By C. Lawrence
This time of the year is so special with families gathering for holiday festivities. Christmastime memories are something we remember always. However, not everyone is able to provide for their families due to various circumstances, often beyond their control. To ensure that no child goes without a Christmas, our local non-profit Weiser Toys for Tots volunteers work year-round to provide an experience to remember. Weiser Toys for Tots is organized by local business owners who raise funds to purchase and wrap gifts to give to children in Washington County and surrounding areas.
The program began back in 1987 by Kenny and Gloria Nelson, grandparents of Michael Campbell. For 12 years, the Nelson’s provided Christmas gifts to the children of the community. Due to health issues, Blake Craigbaum took over until 2011, when Michael Campbell then took over. Campbell and his wife, Malissa, along with the help of many others, raise donations by hosting auctions, bikers poker run, raffles and other fun events, made possible by the generous members of our community. Local donors are the heart and soul of Weiser Toys for Tots. The biggest fundraiser is always the first Saturday in November with an auction at Ole’s Tavern. This year the auction raised $3,300! Some private donations are given throughout the year and can be dropped off at Quality Auto with Brenda Shelby (208-549-2541). Black Friday shopping was a success with the purchase of $1,000 in toys!
Toys for Tots largely focuses on children aged 1 to 5, or kids that are too old to participate in the Ho Ho Express, another amazing program that helps provide Christmas to school-aged children. Families can be nominated for the program and they also receive a list of names from the Weiser WICAP of families who could use a little help. Each year the number of children they give to varies and they’ve never turned anyone down. Every donation matters when bringing Christmas magic to less fortunate children.
Thank you, Weiser Toys for Tots, for spreading Christmas joy among the children in our beautiful community!