To be eligible, each person in the household must bring proof of income, address and identification. Children are not permitted at the sign ups.
Each person will fill out a required form with a list of three gift ideas, along with specific clothing and shoe sizes for each child. Once those details get into the system, an Angel Tree tag is generated and taken into the public for community members to take from the Angel Trees beginning Nov. 1.
Each family that signs up for Christmas assistance will be given a day and time to visit the fairground for toy pickup.
“I think this Toy Run and Angel Tree wakes families up to the love that exists here in our community,” said Ryan Ray, development director of the Springfield Salvation Army. “Too many people want to focus on what we don’t have here, but what we do have here is a whole lot of people with big hearts, who are ready to help and serve and love, at the drop of a hat.”
The toy sign ups and Angel Tree tags then lead up to the Highway Hikers 45th Annual Christmas Toy Run, which collects toys for Clark County children in need and donates them to the Springfield Salvation Army. It will take place on Oct. 15, where potentially 3,000 bikers from Ohio will ride through the county to help support families during the Christmas holidays. Bikers will begin arriving as early at 8 a.m. at the VFW Medway and start the procession around 1 p.m. through Springfield, ending at the Clark County Fairgrounds.
“The Highway Hikers Toy Run is critical for us. We couldn’t do what we do for the kids at Christmas without it,” Ray said. “Not to mention it injects a healthy dose of much-needed love and compassion into our county, of which we so desperately need right now. This Toy Run is the perfect combination of love and leather.”
The efforts officially kick off the Salvation Army’s Christmas Campaign as toys are collected to be distributed to families and children in the area.
“These toys are necessary in order to ensure that every child in Clark County wakes up to toys under the tree Christmas morning. Christmas isn’t about ‘stuff,’ it’s about love and giving,” Ray said.
Ray said anyone with a motorcycle and “heart for the children” is encouraged to participate. Those who want to participate in the Toy Run can donate a new toy or $10. Others can also volunteer by arriving at the fairgrounds by 1 p.m. near the youth building to accept the toys from the motorcyclists and help bag them.
The Springfield Salvation Army stores the toys until they are needed on Nov. 27 when the Toy Shop officially opens, and they are sorted and filled until it closes on Dec. 17. Community members can volunteer from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Youth Building to sort and distribute the toys. Groups of six or more should contact Jamie Scanlon at email@example.com if they’d like to volunteer together.
“This is a massive undertaking, so the more businesses, organizations, churches, families, teams, etc. get involved in this process, the better,” Ray said. “It will literally be some of the most enjoyable volunteer work you’ve ever experienced, especially when you fully grasp what is being accomplished here.”
The toy distribution then takes places on Dec. 14, where parents pick up the toys that have been bagged for the kids.
Credit: Springfield News-Sun
Credit: Springfield News-Sun