PRINCETON — It took seven and one-half hours and a great amount of dedication, for Matt and Abbi Cochran to wrap up the second annual “Freezin’ for a Reason” event, which took place on Thursday near the Prouty Building in downtown Princeton.
The two committed to staying at the Cocoa Cottage until 1,000 toys or $5,000 was collected for the Bureau County United Way/Princeton Jaycees Christmas for Kids toy drive.
Despite the lingering 20-degree weather and chilly winds on Thursday, the two bundled up with layers of clothing and faced the cold from noon until they reached just over 1,000 toys and $1,373 around 7:30 p.m.
“We’re staying out here as long as it’s needed to collect that 1,000 or $5,000,” Matt said during the event. “I’m just happy to be a part of this. It’s a good thing to do here for the kids in Bureau County. Some families really need that support, and so we’re just trying to be here for them.”
The night before the event, Matt, who works as an electrician, constructed his own light-up meter sign, that gauged the amount of money and toys collected throughout the day.
Although the Cochrans were saved from having to spend the night in the Cocoa Cottage, they didn’t hesitant at the thought of the idea.
“We’re prepared to stay overnight, I’m in it for the long haul,” Matt said. “If it needs to be overnight, it needs to be overnight.”
Bureau County United Way Executive Director Andrea Anderson was also on site during the event, greeting donors and assisting with the collection.
“The ‘Freezin for a Reason’ event has been successful in a lot ways,” she said. “It’s very successful not only in giving toys and monetary donations, but in the spirit of giving for Bureau County. To talk with these people and share stories when giving toys, that’s were you see the true success.”
Although the “Freezin’ for a Reason” event has wrapped up, the Christmas for Kids toy drive is still underway. Toy donations will be accepted up until Dec. 11 at various box locations throughout the county.
“’Freezin for a Reason has definitely been a benefit, but there is still concern,” she said on Thursday.” “Donations have been down, as far as, the donation boxes.”
Anderson confirmed the toy drive is expected to serve 700 Bureau County children, which is a 70 children more than last year’s toy drive.
“The need didn’t stop at ‘Freezin for a Reason.’ We still have a few more days to go,” she said. “This is to ensure each child has a gift under the tree this season.”
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