Cottrel: Toy drive is opportunity to help Clark County families during pandemic

Pam Cottrel
Pam Cottrel

Twenty or 30 years from now your great grandchildren are going to ask, “What did you do during the pandemic?”

Now if you’d rather not fess up to your descendants that all you did was binge watch old TV series on Netflix and eat ice cream from the carton, this might be a good time to find something worthwhile to put on that pandemic resume.

This Saturday there is a big event planned by Family and Youth Initiatives FYI that is tackling some of the pandemic issues head on while making a difference in western Clark County.

Because of record unemployment, FYI understands that the need for assistance will be greater this Christmas.

FYI is getting a head start this weekend with Truck’n for Tykes “Christmas in July” Toy Collection. This will be a fun event for local families and something that people can do while still following anti-virus guidelines.

The toy run vehicles will gather at 11 a.m. at Rural King located at 1476 Upper Valley Pike, Springfield, and proceed as a caravan to Tecumseh High School, 9830 West National Rd, and New Carlisle.

The caravan will depart at noon and will be made up of a variety of vehicles; pickup trucks, vans, classic cars, SUVs, family cars, convertibles, and motorcycles. Decorated vehicles and Santa hats will of course we welcomed.

Families can stay in their cars in the air conditioning or wear masks during the gathering time and the procession to maintain social distancing. This should be a memorable time for families and a good reminder of the importance of helping others. Christmas in July just sounds like fun.

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Passengers in every vehicle are asked to bring at least one or more unwrapped gift suitable for a child between the ages of newborn to 17 years. These should be valued at $25 or less. School supplies will also be acceptable as will a monetary contribution.

All donated toys and supplies will be part of The Grinch Hope for the Holidays Project. The toys will be given away to families in need on December 12, 2020 at New Carlisle Elementary School. More information about that event will come out closer to the Holidays.

Last year the first annual Truck’n for Tykes was held in November and gathered more than 300 toys. Combined with other fundraising efforts, 480 kids and seniors were given Christmas gifts.

More will be needed this year, which is why the fundraising is beginning with Christmas in July.

When the toys are dropped off, each vehicle will be given a small goody bag. Call 937-845-0403 to tell FYI that you will be a part of the convoy so they can make sure there are enough goody bags.

Others are also working in positive directions during this pandemic.

Enon Relief has been impressed with how the Greenon community has stepped up to answer the increased need because of the increased unemployment.

“People have been great they just cannot give enough and return week after week with more donations,” said Pat Siler.

Siler is appealing to local gardeners to bring fresh produce to the Enon Relief building from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Mondays. There is a definite need in that area and not all people have a yard for a garden. She said that rinsed fresh vegetables are always appreciated, but home canned items cannot be accepted.

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Volunteer Dennis Hoffman reminded me how many other organizations and churches are also providing food and meals. He said that community members have a variety of places to donate and assist others.

All summer I’ve been watching neighbors showing off their gardens and I know that many added additional plants this year to provide produce for others. I think that telling our grandkids about the 2020 Pandemic Victory Gardens will also be a great story to relate.

I have a feeling that in the future some of the best pandemic stories will be from our neighbors in need who will tell their grandchildren how the community helped them get over a rough spot or helped them get school supplies at a time when there few jobs available and COVID-19 restrictions were stifling.

We truly will have different stories and experiences to share someday in the future.

My Grandmother used to tell stories of nearly starving as a child in West Virginia. Until she passed away she told us of those who helped. Even 50 years after their assistance, she was still passing it on with free meals and food for those in need.

Doing good things for others now during this pandemic may be the ultimate pass it on. Those who get through this together will want to help the next generations too.

Keep on keeping on.