PRINCETON — With the holiday season quickly approaching, the annual Christmas for Kids toy drive kicked off this week. The drive accepts new, unwrapped toy donations that will be distributed to less fortunate families in need this Christmas.
Donation boxes have been set out this week. Donors can drop off their toy donations in one of these boxes from now until Dec. 12.
It’s the sixth year Princeton Wesleyan Church is spearheading the toy drive.
In 2013, Pastor Doug Kirkpatrick and his congregation made the decision to take over the toy drive after Bureau County United Way announced it would no longer facilitate the program.
Each year, members of the church have refined the event to make it more efficient with a goal to serve as many families in need as possible.
Kirkpatrick said the need is great in Bureau County.
“We are realizing it more and more. That is why we are trying to position Christmas for Kids in such a way that we can maximize the children and families we are able to serve while being the best stewards of the donations entrusted to us by the community,” he said.
Local families are referred by their school district. Only families who provide a referral letter are invited to shop the toy event on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Princeton Wesleyan Church.
Last year, the toy drive served more than 500 children. Kirkpatrick expects to serve around the same number this year.
Kirkpatrick said one thing that impresses him every year is the generosity of the community.
“When there is a need, people step up and they share what they have,” he said. “Every year, I’m so impressed with the people who want to ensure this drive is a success.”
During the drive, on Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Christmas for Kids will host a Freezin’ for a Reason event, where volunteers will be out at the Cocoa Cottage near the Prouty Building in downtown Princeton, accepting toy and monetary donations, drive-thru style.
Monetary donations can also be donated to the Christmas for Kids fund at Heartland Bank and Trust.
Want to volunteer for the shopping event? Call 815-879-4481 and leave a message. The organization is looking for volunteers to help during set up of the shopping event from Dec. 9 to Dec. 14.
Where can you find a donation box?
Christmas for Kids donation boxes have been placed in locations in Princeton, Manlius, Neponset, LaMoille, Van Orin, Malden, Ohio and Sheffield.
• Bureau County Metro Center
• Bureau County Republican
• Central Bank
• Gardner Denver
• Evangelical Covenant Church
• First State Bank
• First United Methodist Church
• Heartland Bank – North
• Heartland Bank – South
• Joe Kitchens’ – Edward Jones
• Kramer’s Kitchen
• Logan Junior High School
• Midland Bank – North
• Midland Bank – South
• MTM Recognition
• New Hope Church
• Perry Memorial Hospital
• Princeton City Hall
• Princeton Public Library
• Princeton Wesleyan Church
• Security Finance
• St. Matthews Lutheran Church
• Bureau Valley High School, Manlius
• Community State Banking Center in Neponset
• First State Bank of LaMoille
• First State Bank of Van Orin
• LaMoille High School
• Malden Banking Center
• Manlius Banking Center
• Ohio School District
• Sheffield Banking Center