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Christmas comes just once a year, and as we usher in the start of the Christmas season, we are fortunate to live in a community that is ever mindful of those children among us who are in need. This year marks a significant event for Toys for Tots as our Marine Corp League 697 and partners are celebrating our 34th anniversary in making a difference, ensuring that every child in our community who ask for a toy for Christmas will receive one, as we will always honor every request.
Silently, through tear-filled eyes I witness child after child who come to us with absolutely nothing receive a brand new donated toy, broad smiles and squeals of joy spoke beyond the barrier of language but with a wink and a nod and in my heart; we have done something incredibly wonderful for our children.
In that brief moment, my heart just knew the magical bond we made.
The Marine Corp League 697, El Dorado Hills Fire Department and our partners are again asking our community to please go to any of our toy drop-off sites in El Dorado County and please donate brand new, unwrapped toys as we serve children and their families in need at Christmas. Toys for Tots is a volunteer-driven campaign that relies on the generous support of its community service groups, local businesses and wineries that are drop-off sites, and our sponsors. Without their commitment, there would be no Christmas for these children, never realizing the true meaning of giving at Christmas.
There are many opportunities to support Toys for Tots, including donating new, unwrapped toys, making monetary contributions, volunteering and/or participating in our upcoming fundraisers (2013 Placerville Christmas Parade Dec. 1, Toys for Tots at the Belltower Dec. 7-8, Creekside Place Dec. 14-15, or your own fundraiser) to benefit our Toys for Tots program. A variety of donations are welcome, including toys, books, games, just about anything that might be on a child’s wish list as we bring Christmas to children from birth to 13 years old.
For families who are seeking help, needing toys for their children due to unforeseen circumstances, registration will start on the first Monday after Thanksgiving at our local elementary and middle schools in El Dorado County.
I am reminded of one children’s book that I would read to my children at Christmas, “The Polar Express” by Van Allsburg. I would like to share the final quote:
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
My children are grown now, with lives of their own, but I’ve kept the bell that my children anxiously withheld their delight in ringing, as it had no clapper until the traditional ringing of the bell. Each one mightily shook it hard, holding it close to their ear; moments later their smile said it all.
The bell represents a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas, validating that those of us who believe in the joy of Christmas, sharing that special spirit of the true meaning of Christmas, giving to those that might not have a Christmas as is if our universe filled with millions of bells, each one ringing sweetly each time a child is given a new toy, donated by all of us who still can hear, the Christmas bell, ring.
Please contact us, by either calling 530-344-9384 or e-mailing [email protected]
SUE AND HOLLIS HENDERSON
Toys for Tots Coordinators