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Toys for Tots: The Heartfelt Gift of Kindness

Weekly musings from Jeff Long, public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District.

For all the economic indicators that are bandied about in the media each day, none of them are really understandable to an underprivileged child. Nor do they make a difference.

To these young people whose families are struggling, they only know what they have. Or, more accurately, what they don’t have.

The holidays can be a particularly tough time. While other children enjoy overflow celebrations and plentiful presents under the tree, the less fortunate raise a cup that’s half-empty.

That reality has hit home with the Fox Valley Park District, among other local agencies, businesses and organizations. Once again, the Park District is serving as an active partner in local collection efforts to provide gifts for children as part of the national Toys for Tots program.

In cooperation with local police agencies, the Park District is part of an operation that will round up toy donations from drop-off locations around the area, then deliver them to the Aurora Fire Department, which takes care of wrapping and delivering the presents to local families that are less fortunate.

Those wishing to make a toy donation can stop by any of the Park District’s community centers – Eola, Prisco, Vaughan and the Cole Center. But don’t delay – the donation deadline is Dec. 17. All toys must be new – and unwrapped.

With each holiday season – no matter the state of the economy, it seems – comes an amazing show of compassionate response from so many caring residents.

Bringing smiles to children is always taken seriously – even if people tend to wait until the last minute. But our communities always come through, because people care. And when other local businesses and police agencies involved, we’re that much more successful.

The whole idea behind Toys for Tots is to bring a little cheer into the lives of less fortunate kids. It’s more than a good feeling to know you’ve brightened a child’s day.

Collection efforts actually began as early as last summer when volunteers were scouting garage sales for toys, knowing their discoveries would find a good home during the holidays.

Gifts range from Matchbox cars to radio-controlled Corvettes to board games, sports gear, books, dolls and everything in between. They’ll be distributed to children through area social agencies in consultation with school teachers who help earmark gifts for the less privileged.

Even in hard times, the kindness, generosity and giving spirit of so many families, businesses and individuals has a way of winning out. And that makes the holidays brighter for all. With record-setting sales this year during Black Friday and Cyber Monday – and recent news that holiday retail hiring could reach an all-time high – organizers are hopeful Toys for Tots donations follow the trend.

The impact is immeasurable. For every child who gets a toy on Christmas, the world is a better place.

It doesn’t take much to imagine the sound of wrapping paper as it’s being removed by an excited child, and the giddy reaction that’s sure to follow.

That heartwarming image – and knowing you’ve helped make a child’s holiday – is a precious gift in itself.

Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at jlong@fvpd.net

Fox Valley Park District
Upcoming Events

Sunday, Dec. 16: Holiday Spectacular, Prisco Community Center, 2 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 31: Family New Year’s Eve Party, Vaughan Athletic Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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