Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 19, 2013

Thankful families value holiday events

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Two Lindsay causes that have become an intertwined way to make the holidays a bit brighter for those struggling has once again returned to Garvin County.

One part running to raise funds and the other donations for those who might not otherwise have a way to bring traditional treats like a meal and gifts for their tykes is both looking for those in town to serve and those eager to give.

Kicking off first is the fourth annual return of the Turkey Trot on Saturday, Nov. 23, where participants of all ages are welcome with proceeds going toward the income based gift program, the Joy Store.

“Last year we provided Christmas for 132 children,” said event organizer Susan Allen. “It was the biggest store we’ve ever done.”

The festive bird themed 5K walk/run/jog gets going 9 a.m. at the Lindsay High School baseball field, where people can participate by registering online ahead of time or the day of for $20 for adults or $10 for kids aged 7-12, said Allen. It allows people to take the course as professionally (timed for those looking for a physical challenge) or casually as they prefer with a course that covers Robertson, East Ponca, Main and Choctaw Streets.

Since Allen started leading the Joy Store about 10 years ago, this event’s proceeds has really stepped up their ability to go out during Black Friday sales.

However, it’s a seasonal overall effort that actually rallies more than those who give monetarily, but the entire community from the food and toy drives put on by the school aged kids in town to individuals and businesses donating anything else that is needed to make it happen.

“Everybody, all walks of life donate,” said Allen, adding how she will again have family come from out of state be a part of what is also a personal tradition. “What we don’t get we buy later.”

There have even been recipients of the Joy Store who have come back later and contributed when they got back on their feet and despite the workload, volunteers seem to get hooked right away, said Allen.

She said many see how lives are touched by the simple gestures, which also includes taking food to home bound residents not able to pick up the baskets.

“It’s really wonderful. We’ve seen many tears of joy… It makes it all worthwhile,” said Allen, noting how gifts are covered up until parents decide to give them around the holidays to allow for an element of surprise.

“Everyone that has ever done it was touched in their heart and they want to come back… When they walk in and see the amount of toys and what goes into it they are very shocked.”

People can register for the 5K event online at www.lindsayturkeytrot.com

The deadline for Lindsay residents applying for the Joy Store as well as food baskets is Monday, Nov. 25.

Saturday, Dec. 14 is day when families will be able to pick up Joy Store gifts.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate contact the Lindsay Chamber at 405-756-4312. Food basket/toy request forms and donations can be mailed to The Chamber of Commerce, 107 N. Main St., PO BOX 504, Lindsay OK, 73052.