With the mission to assure that every Richland County child in need will have a present at Christmas, Toy Time was able to provide 1,021 toys to children during its distribution weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
Approximately 600 volunteers helped 488 families through this program.
Director Teresa Boner noted that the preparations for the program began the last weekend in October when the signature red barrels were placed in different drop-off locations so that people could donate their items. Those items were then collected, cleaned/repaired, and sorted to be distributed.
Some of the prep work began right after last year’s holidays, said volunteer Bill DeGray.
DeGray has been volunteering with Toy Time for the past four years by helping repair the donated bicycles. He noted that approximately 270 bikes had been repaired this year.
“I like the challenge of getting all the bikes repaired in time and that this benefits children,” he said.
Also lending a helping hand during the distribution weekend were the Boy Scouts. The Scout Master for Troop 113 stated that his troop has helped out for the past 20 years.
“We always do the outside portion, transferring items from one place to another,” he said. “We’ve got it down to a science now.”
One of the benefactors for the program, Hale’s Harley-Davidson/Mid-Ohio Harley Owners Group, donated 25 bikes and $1,109. And the Ontario Lions Club donated $2,300 and 300 toys and helped organize the craft show.
Originally, the agency served children ages 0-12; however, due to the impact of electronics, the age has been lowered to 0-10 years old.
“The older kids are into the Xbox 360’s, cell phones, and so on, but we don’t get many of those items so we’ve lowered the age range,” explained Boner.
Potential gifts provided include cars, trucks, bikes, dolls, stuffed animals, games, in addition to other items characteristic of a toy’s story.
Jessica Oney, Samantha McGuire, and Holly Snyder were among those who received gifts for their children.
Oney stated that she both donates and participates in the program, and next year she hopes to serve as a volunteer. “Everyone can benefit from [the program],” she said.
Toy Time was founded in 1967. It was originally called Toys for Tots and later became Toy Time.
Teresa Boner’s father, Ken Cole, ran the organization for over 40 years, and Teresa Boner has been in charge since her father’s passing four years ago.
“I’ve always been involved,” said Boner. “I enjoy what it [Toy Time] stands for and that it’s making sure there are Christmas presents for children—that’s what I’m about.”
To learn more about Toy Time, visit their Facebook page.