Santa's Lions wrap up Toys For Tots

Christopher Gooding
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More than 130 children benefiting from local Christmas program

SPRINGHILL – A special team of Santa’s helpers were tasked with setting up a satellite workshop here in Springhill in anticipation of Christmas.

oy production and distribution was in full swing at the Salvation Army in Springhill last week when the church was converted into one of Santa's workshops. The Springhill Lions doubled as Santa's helpers through the Toys For Tots program and prepared Christmas for over 130 local children.

It might seem like the wrong latitude to be setting up such a workshop, but this was a special location specifically for serving some of the children in the community, Springhill Lion Karen Morris-Priester said. The Springhill Lions, in partnership with the Salvation Army, were preparing this year’s Toys For Tots applications and it was evident Santa and the elves were benefitting greatly from the extra help.

“We had 65 applications, that works out to 134 kids,” Morris-Priester said.

Applications for children aged 0 to 16 were received after the Lions kicked off the Toys For Tots campaign in mid-November and the Fri, Dec. 20th was the pick-up day. To be prepared, the Lions converted the Salvation Amy into a makeshift Santa’s workshop, where the aisles quickly filled with designated toy production. On one line a row of toy cars began to appear; another with dolls. Everything had its place and soon the Lions, with wish lists in hand, were filling out orders.

This year, Morris-Priester said, donation to the program were comparable to last year, with more donation sites being located in the community. The Lions also received more financial donations, including funding through Christmas Daddies – $2,000 – which went towards purchasing wish list items they didn’t receive through donations.

If there was one group that was more difficult than the other to shop for, Morris-Priester said, it would be the teenagers. The older they get, the more compact their wishes get.

“Because at the age of 16, the big things they want are clothes or a DS videogame. It’s a bit of a struggle because we really don’t want to put just one game in a box. We want to load them up.”

And one way or another, the program is doing just that. Thanks to their partnership with the Salvation Army, the Lions are able to be a compliment to the spirit of the season. Also on Friday, the Salvation Army was distributing its food-box program, which also numbered close to 90 applicants. In addition, through the leadership of Grrr-Rubby Dog Grooming owner Shirley Sachs, pet food donations through the Groomers 4 Grub initiative were also being distributed at the church on the same day.

Organizations: Salvation Army, Salvation Amy

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