North Pole Exclusive
In 2019, thanks to the efforts of the Metcalfe County Sheriff’s Office and the Metcalfe County Family Resource Center, Toys for Tots made its debut in Metcalfe County. Since then the program and the appreciation for it have grown.
“Sheriff Lonnie came to us and asked how to get his county involved. We turned in an application, and we are now in our third year. It has been such a smooth process because they work with the school resource center and that is an ideal scenario for distributing these toys to families in need,” said Janel Doyle, program coordinator at the regional “North Pole” distribution center in Warren County.
Janel began her volunteer position a decade ago. In her first year, the center gave 200 families in the 10 county region Toys for Christmas. Last year, they gave over 20,000 toys to 8,055 families in the region.
Much as the program has grown across the region, it has grown in Metcalfe County each year since its arrival.
“It has been absolutely wonderful to watch Metcalfe County grow in this manner,” said Doyle.
“The sheriff’s office distributes toy boxes to local stores and businesses and they gather toys from the community. Those toys supplement the ones we donate each year.”
Doyle says the key is having someone involved whose heart is in it.
“The sheriff, and his deputies, and the elves at the resource center have it in their hearts to do this and have done good work. Patty at the resource center has been such a valuable asset for getting these toys into the hands of those that need them,” said Doyle.
Patty Bunch and Lori Eskridge of the Family Resource Center are thrilled with the program and its growth.
Bunch and Eskridge have worked with family resources since its creation in 2000. Over the course of 21 years, they have helped many families with essential needs including clothing, food, and toiletries. The addition of toys for tots has been promising for the community.
In 2019, 50 Metcalfe families were provided with toys via Toys for Tots. Last year, 260 families participated. This year, nearly 300 children from Metcalfe County will receive toys at Christmas thanks to the program.
“It’s allowed us to have a wider variety of toys to give to the children, for more ages of children,” Bunch said.
Eskridge added that it has also allowed people who donate to the program to focus more on basic supplies including clothes, shoes, socks, and underwear.
Both agree that the addition of Toys for Tots has been a wonderful way to help fill the needs of the community, and a rewarding experience.
“Working here is very humbling, we forget what we take for granted,” said Eskridge.
Bunch says that for the past two years, on Christmas Eve families in the community, or their neighbors, have called at the last minute in need of items for Christmas and that they have been able to provide thanks to Toys for Tots.