While many parents are taking their children to malls, stores, parades and civic club parties to talk to Santa Claus, economic realities force many of them to also look elsewhere to fulfill their children’s wish lists. In Brown County, that means a visit to the Toys for Kids headquarters at 2325 Belle Plain.

Registration concluded several days ago, and it comes as no surprise that the need is enormous this year. Earlier this week, volunteers serving in the program expressed concern about the gap between the toys available and the number of families expected to show up Saturday to go “shopping.” That means the community has less than one day to make Christmas a merry one for countless local youngsters.

Donations to the program are always needed, and any excess can be held in storage until next year. But at this rate, there won’t be anything left over; Toys for Kids officials have been hoping there will be just enough to help everyone this season. It’s never too late to give, even on Saturday.

The Toys for Kids program has enjoyed tremendous support from the community since it was established by Wanda Thacker Martin and the late Dennis Thacker in 2002, and it continues to serve local families thanks to the extended Thacker family and a team of volunteers. 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. Other organizations have Christmas toy programs as well, and they all contribute to making the holiday bright for children who would otherwise wake up to a bleak Christmas morning.

Toys for Kids is just one example of the caring nature of this community, and it’s made possible by the efforts of those who dedicate hours of their time to others during the busiest month of the year. But a merry Christmas may still be in doubt for some Brown County children. Fortunately, there’s still a few hours left to change that, thanks to those who support Toys for Kids.

Brownwood Bulletin