New Opportunities facing shortage of Christmas toys

Jefferson Herald staff

It’s Christmas morning. The children rush to the tree, scattering anything without their name taped to it haphazardly around the room in the pursuit of the ultimate prize. Parents look onto the carnage with amused grins as the children desperately rip through crinkly wrapping paper to find that long-anticipated holiday gift.

Unfortunately, this year, Santa’s bag of goodies might be a little light for some area children.

Greene County Family Development Center Coordinator Teresa Lansman said more Greene County children are signed up for the center’s Christmas Gifts for Children Program, and less toys have been donated than last year.

The Family Development Center is the information, application and referral center for all of the income eligible programs offered by New Opportunities, Inc. to serve families, individuals and elderly people of Greene County. The Family Development Center partners with the Toys for Tots program each winter to provide holiday gifts for needy children.

“Toys for Tots usually helps us out and donates a large portion of our toys, and this year it just wasn’t what it has been in previous years,” Lansman said.

A combination of more children enrolled in the program and less donations coming in have caused the shortage.

“I think it’s a little bit of both, last year we had 270 children sign up that we were able to help,” Lansman said. “We have 315 children that have signed up and we have half as many toys.”

She said the toys will be distributed on Monday, but she is still accepting donations at New Opportunities, 1401 N. Elm St., until Friday at 3 p.m. and on Sunday at the Greene County Fairgrounds after 1 p.m.

Toys are needed for children up to age 16.

Lansman said about 20 kids are signed up in each age group. Toys and board games are encouraged for younger children and gift cards are more appropriate for teenagers, but any contribution is appreciated, Lansman said.

“Anything people can give would be beyond helpful,” Lansman said.

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