Christmas Toy Giveaway In Nodaway
As much as we'd like to claim it, the Christmas Toy Giveaway is the brain child of Vince Else. According to his wife Judy, it started some 50 years ago when Vince was a Sunday school teacher. He had a little boy who wasn't going to be getting any presents that year. So he came up with a toy John Deer Tractor and gave it to the parent to give to the child.
Inspired by the satisfaction of that gesture, a few more toys were given away the next year. Judy says, "in the beginning the toys weren't all that great. But later when people started to donate the toys, the quality improved." Before long toys were being collected throughout the year. Vince with family and volunteers would clean the toys and get them ready.
The community building in Nodaway was secured and the annual event made news around the region.
It's extremely organized. There is paperwork people fill out when they come in. Not all of the toys are put out at once so that all the good toys are gone the first day. There are toys given away as late as Christmas even and there are enough that Vince says that on average each child that benefits from the giveaway receives at least 10 toys!
The toys are categorized and parents are allowed just so many from each category. So much attention to detail and cleaning is made that even the puzzles have been put together to make sure all the pieces are there.
That means that some 8,000 toys were given away this last year! And still there were many loads of toys left over. Can you say, "Whew?"