A group of volunteers is continuing a longstanding tradition of ensuring every Clyde-area child unwraps a present Christmas morning.
"Caring for Clyde Kids" kicked off its 20th annual toy giveaway Thursday morning, where about 30 income-eligible families received free toys for their children.
The Clyde Back Door Food Pantry on West McPherson Highway distributes the donated toys to needy families during the holiday season to supplement its weekly food pantry.
Kay Dick, a retired school secretary, organizes the event each year.
She gathers all the donated toys and also purchases new ones using cash donations — a time-consuming endeavor, but for a worthy cause, she said.
"All the hard work getting the toys is worth the smiles on Christmas morning," Dick said. "The end result makes my Christmas complete."
On Thursday, "Caring for Clyde Kids" offered several long tables full of new or gently used toys, including dolls, games, clothes and electronics for children of all ages.
Food pantry volunteers — individuals Dick calls "Santa's helpers" — escort guests to the tables and help them select toys specific to their child's interests, gender and age group. Parents or guardians can select one new toy and one used toy for each child in their household.
"It's feels awesome to help," said Sharon Meyer, a longtime volunteer. "You see a great need in the community and then can come here to do something about it. It's a good feeling."
In 2012, the cause collected and distributed more than 600 toys and assisted 127 families, for a total of 328 children served.
The effort is much appreciated, those receiving toys said Thursday.
"It's a great community service they're offering," one man said. "They help out a lot of different people who really appreciate the help."
Want to go?
WHAT: "Caring for Clyde Kids" free toy giveaway
WHEN: Dec. 12 and Dec. 19; 9 a.m.-noon and 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
WHERE: Clyde Back Door Food Pantry, 803 1/2 W. McPherson Highway
Income-qualified Clyde-Green Springs Schools district residents can receive free toys. They must bring proof of all household income to participate.
For more information or to donate to the cause, call Kay Dick, 419-547-8014, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.