Suwannee Democrat

December 11, 2012

Brighten a child’s holiday

Donate toys to The Santa Shop

Bryant Thigpen
Suwannee Democrat

Live Oak — Santa has some helpers this year. Local residents are pulling together to create the Santa Shop, a place where parents or guardians who are struggling financially can get toys for their children for Christmas.

Those who are wishing to brighten the smile of a child can drop off donations of toys at any Live Oak public school or at the GFWC Woman's Club of Live Oak between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. no later than Dec. 14.

When the Santa Shop opens, parents or guardians will be given an invitation to shop. When they arrive at the shop, workers will provide them with a certain amount of tickets, depending on how many toys are collected. Workers will then assist the parents in wrapping the gifts for their children.

“For some of these kids, the toys and gifts they receive at the Santa Shop is the only thing they will receive on Christmas morning,” said Debra Ross, homeless advocate for Suwannee County schools. “When the parents come to shop at the Santa Shop, they are very thankful and humbled at our community’s generosity. They come with heavy burdens and leave with gifts, toys, backpacks, school supplies, and jackets for their kids.”

A volunteer who works at the Santa Shop said, “The Santa Shop is an example of love and generosity that our local children can learn from. During a time of year when some children might feel left out or forgotten, the Santa Shop provides them with a reassurance that they are very loved and very much not forgotten.”

An anonymous parent submitted, “The Santa Shop blessed my family last Christmas when we had nothing and no family to help us. Someone there even gave us a tree to put up and went and bought decorations. Now, we are doing better and want to buy toys to donate to the Santa Shop to give back. I guess you call it, pay it forward.”

The Santa Shop encourages family, friends, businesses, churches and more to donate toys for a great cause. They also ask businesses and organizations to consider making a toy or gift the ticket to enter the Christmas party.

The Santa Shop is for children ages 4-18. All left over toys and gifts from the Santa Shop will be donated to Live Oak Fire Department’s Toys for Sparky’s Kids. The LOFD provides toys for over 400 children each year.

For more information, please call Cortney at 386-647-4628 or Lisa at 386-647-4623.