Columbia toy drive struggles to reach donation goals

Monday, December 6, 2010 | 6:27 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Donations to the annual Columbia Parks and Recreation toy drive are behind what they have been in previous years.

Camren Cross, Columbia recreation supervisor, said the situation the economy is in is prohibiting people from making donations. 

How to get involved

  • New or gently used toys for boys and girls 14 and under can be dropped off at Parks & Recreation Administration, 1 S. Seventh St., or the Armory Sports Center, 701 E. Ash St. The department is asking that a receipt be included with the donation of purchased toys.
  • Monetary donations (cash, check or credit card) are also accepted, and a letter of receipt for tax purposes will be provided.

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“This also makes registration go up at the same time,” Cross said about Holiday Toys for Columbia's Youth, which started in the early 1970s.

In the past, there have been 300 to 350 children registered to receive toys from the toy drive. “The goal is to provide at least three gifts for each child,” Cross said. 

Right now, donations add up to about half of the toys needed to make the toy drive a success.

Many people choose to donate money. These donations usually total up to $1,200 to $1,500. Right now they are only halfway to this goal, Cross said.

The toys will be distributed to registered children 14 and under on Dec. 13. 

To reach its goal, Columbia Parks and Recreation is “reaching out to the community,” Cross said. Employees are contacting people on the department's mailing lists and promoting the toy drive at department events.  Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches also participates by placing bins in its restaurants for people to drop off toy donations.

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