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Houston County Courier - Local News

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Local organizations join forces for SHARE Toy Drive


Alton Porter
News Reporter

The Crockett Fire Department and Houston County EMS (emergency and nonemergency medical services) have teamed up with Houston County SHARE, Inc., to share the love of Christmas this holiday season with children, from newborns up to those 13 years of age, whose parents are SHARE clients. The Annual Houston County SHARE Toy Drive, that these three entities have joined forces to make happen in an even bigger way this year, began Nov. 27 and extends through Friday, Dec. 22. And the drive, coordinated by Crockett City Council Precinct 1 Councilmember Butch Calvert and his wife Kathi Calvert, a Houston County civic leader and Houston County Electric Cooperative's general manager, is being supported by a number of Houston County businesses, according to Kim Cowan Marrs. Marrs is a firefighter, emergency medical technician and administrative assistant with Crockett Fire Department, and is assisting the Calverts coordinate the program. "Basically, the Crockett Fire Department and Houston County EMS are pairing up—volunteering to help out with SHARE this year," Marrs said. "That way we can go and sit with them and whatnot and collect toys (for the children). We want to be out there and be a part of the community. And hopefully, help give back." In the drive, community residents are asked to donate unwrapped toys and other gifts valued between $20 and $25, as well as cash and checks in those amounts. Donations in other amounts also will be accepted. The first big event in the drive was a "Stuff the Bus" toy collection event, Saturday, Dec. 2. A large school bus was parked on the parking lot in from of the Crockett Walmart store between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and shoppers were asked to help fill the bus with toys and gifts for children in need whose parents are SHARE clients. Santa was present at the event so that the little ones could have pictures taken with him. Here is a list of the stores out front of which other "Stuff the Bus" drives will be held where toys, other gifts and donations can be dropped off and the times they can be dropped off Saturdays the upcoming two weekends: Family Dollar (Crockett), Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Family Dollar (Kennard), Saturday, Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m.; Dollar General (Crockett, across the street from Brookshire Brothers), Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Dollar General (Crockett, next to H-E-B Grocery), Saturday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; and Family Dollar (Lovelady), Dec. 16, 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Those who would like to donate in the drive, but are unable to stop by either of these locations at the times scheduled, should feel free to drop off their gifts at the Crockett Fire Station weekdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., or the Houston County SHARE facility during hours when the agency is open for business. Donations also may be dropped off at either of these businesses during their regular business hours: Houston County Electric Cooperative, Houston County Courier, Crockett Dental Care (Suite 120 in the county hospital building on Loop 304), The Messenger and KIVY Radio Station. "Cash donations are always welcome and allow us flexibility to meet a variety of needs," Butch Calvert noted. Checks are tax deductible and may be mailed to Houston County SHARE, P.O. Box 1121, Crockett, Texas, 75835. Gift recipients are limited to children of SHARE clients who were signed up before Thanksgiving, according to Calvert, who explained, "The SHARE Christmas Store (in the SHARE building, where gifts can be picked up) serves families in need residing in Houston County. "The Christmas Store allows parents to select one toy per child. Children from birth to age 13 are eligible for participation. In addition, each family is allowed to select one interactive gift, such as games, puzzles or crafts, and a few stocking stuffers." Clients may pick up gifts for their children on the day during the month when they are scheduled to pick up their food and clothing at SHARE through Friday, Dec. 22, he said. Calvert added, "Families needing support this holiday season, may visit the SHARE office during normal hours of operation to determine eligibility. The SHARE Christmas Store will operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday … through Dec. 22. Last year, we served 669 children from over 300 families." He estimated some 700 children will be served through the program this year. "These children often do not have enough food, sufficient clothing or basic comforts, like heating or their own beds," Calvert continued, issuing this plea, "Please help SHARE the joy of Christmas with a child this year." Toy ideas Calvert suggested for donors include baby dolls, small scooters or tricycles, sports items (for example, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls and fishing poles), crafts kits for bracelets and necklaces, jewelry or make-up sets for older girls, LEGO sets, larger cars and trucks, board games (such as, Candy Land Game, Chutes and Ladders Game, UNO and Memory Games) and Kid Connection play sets (kitchen toys, train sets, dollhouse sets, race track sets, and the like). For stocking stuffers, he suggested donating such things as Play Dough, crayons and markers, coloring books, lip gloss, hair accessories, small trucks, cars and action figures and stuffed animals. In providing gift ideas to potential donors, Calvert noted, "Also, we proudly live in an ethnically diverse community. When selecting gifts, such as dolls, consider the diversity of the community in which we live."


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