While many families are taking their children to malls, stores, parades and civic club functions to talk to Santa Claus, reality forces many of them to also look elsewhere. In Brown County, that means a visit to the Toys for Kids headquarters at 2325 Belle Plain.

Today is the final day for youngsters’ names to be added to the Toys for Kids list, because with Christmas now one week away, plans must be finalized in time for the annual shopping day on Saturday. The headquarters will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Although no financial need statement is required, parents signing up are asked to bring their child’s Social Security card and their own picture identification. At the end of last week, more than 300 families with 1,000 children had asked for help.

Meanwhile, donations to the program are always needed. At this time of the season, with the days to prepare winding down, cash would be most helpful. But toys will be accepted all week, even on Saturday, organizers said.

The Toys for Kids program has enjoyed tremendous support from the community since Dennis and Wanda Thacker established it in 2002, and it continues to serve local families even after Dennis’ death last year. Many business, civic and service organizations make the Toys for Kids program a part of their holiday schedule by encouraging their members to bring a toy to Christmas parties and programs.

Toys for Kids is a tribute to the caring nature of the community, as well as that of those who devote time during the busiest month of the year to make it happen. But Christmas may still not be very merry for some Brown County children. Fortunately, there’s still time to change that, thanks to those who support Toys for Kids.

Brownwood Bulletin