Toys for Tots distribution day a success

Chad Frey
cfrey@thekansan.com
Volunteers helped give away more than 2,100 toys during the first ever Harvey County Toys for Tots toy distribution.

About 1 p.m. Saturday, David Decker, Harvey County United Way board member and director of business services at USD 373, and a group of volunteers were a bit weary but satisfied with the day they had.

At that time, they were folding up tables at McKinley Administrative Center and preparing to go home. All the toys they had stacked on those tables earlier were gone.

“This showed there are a lot of families in need in Harvey County,“ Decker said. ”We were able, and glad, to meet that need.“

There were more than 2,100 toys on the tables Saturday. They came from the national Toys for Tots campaign and some local donations.

Those empty tables were an indicator of success. Christmas will be a bit brighter in a number of Harvey County households after the first-ever Harvey County Toys For Tots distribution.

“I showed up at 7:30 this morning, and there were already cars in the driveway. That was an indicator that we were going to have a pretty big day,” Decker said.

In partnership with Good360 and USD 373 Newton Public Schools, Harvey County United Way planned the distribution to begin at 9 a.m.

Organizers also planned to be open until 5 p.m. or until the toys ran out — whichever was first.

The school district used its phone and email databases to notify parents of the distribution — and used it again Saturday afternoon to notify parents that the toys were gone.

“We ran out of toys at about 12:30,” Decker said. “We had a nice, steady flow throughout the day.”

Toys were grouped by age and each family was able to receive two toys per child from their designated age group. There were wireless speakers, book bags and headphones for high schoolers and toy trucks, games, basketball, soccer balls, arts kits and dolls for elementary schoolers. There was something for just about everyone.

“We got rid of all of them, and we are very happy about that,” Decker said.

And Decker is already thinking about 2021. There might be a different location, but Decker made it clear that there will be an effort to do it again.

“Hopefully it will be a little bit bigger,” Decker said. “ ... This was basically school-aged kids. Hopefully next year we will have some preschool offerings.”