Pauls Valley Democrat
Making sure tough times don’t interrupt the happy holiday feeling is annually a daunting task for any charitable organization.
However, its one that will be welcomed once again with the return of Lindsay’s “Joy Store & Christmas Food Baskets” program and leading the charge with an entire community of all purpose support is organizer Susan Allen. Even though it is limited to those with a local address, the requests are still returning in high number for meals and toys for those stretched thin with the economy still on the downside.
“I think the need is still pretty strong,” said Allen, adding how they are willing to take donations for food and toys as late as Monday, Dec. 10. “You take a family where mom and dad make minimum wage and you can only stretch it so far.”
The qualifications to apply are somewhat relaxed and Allen usually bases it on a person’s income, how many kids they have and if their situation includes difficulties like high medical bills. She’s not receiving numbers quite like last year when they had 140 plus food baskets and toys for families, but it’s still to the point where she couldn’t do it without contributions ranging from area businesses to individual donations.
The list of those pitching in continues to be impressive and includes a canned food drive by the town’s elementary school, a toy drive by the high school and a couple of upcoming fundraisers, said Allen, who usually sees more requests for toys than food. There’s still time for people in town to apply as the applications aren’t due until Monday, Nov. 19 and returned to where they can be picked up at the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce office.
Shopping on Black Friday to meet the needs of kids who need things like coats or shoes doesn’t even bother Allen anymore, who has turned it into something fun. She involves her own family like her sister visiting from California and said the prices make it easier to meet the requests.
“It’s just an extension of my Thanksgiving anymore,” said Allen, noting how the food in the baskets does include holiday foods like a turkey or ham, yet also includes foods that are good for a while longer like hot cereal. “I see these kids who don’t have coats and that’s why I go on Black Friday... It’s actually turned into a fun event.”
People can also participate in the two upcoming fundraising events like a concert the same day as their Christmas parade in early December. There is also the third annual turkey trot where people can participate in a 5K by donating $20 for adults or $10 for kids who are 7-12 and getting a cool T-shirt this Saturday, Nov. 17.
“You can jog, run or walk, but I’ll crawl,” joked Allen, who added that people can register at a Web site online or arrive early at the baseball field in Lindsay before the race starts at 9 a.m. “It’s a wonderful community effort that we could not do without this help.”
For those wanting to donate they can drop off their donations at the chamber office, be it food or new toys still in original packaging, said Allen. Pick up day for toys and food is Saturday, Dec. 15, starting at 8 a.m.
People can register for the trot online at www.lindsayturkeytrot.com
For more information contact the Lindsay Chamber at 405-756-4312. Food basket/toy request forms can be mailed to The Chamber of Commerce, 107 N. Main St., PO BOX 504, Lindsay OK, 73052.