Playful toy drives brighten children’s holidays

(Posted Nov. 22, 2019)

Want to bring cheer to families in need this holiday season? Check out these opportunities to donate toys and more around Madison County.

Madison County Job & Family Services and London Fire Department

Every year, the Holiday Helpers Firefighters Toy Drive provides gifts to between 700 and 800 children, ages 0 to 12.

The public can get involved a couple of ways, either by adopting a family and purchasing gifts specifically for those children, or by donating toys or money without adopting a particular family.

Holiday Helpers supplies adopters with first names, ages and wish lists of the children. Participants then spend up to $75 per child and purchase no more than three gifts per child.

Donations can be dropped off at Job & Family Services, 200 Midway St., London.

Madison County families in need who want to receive gifts are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible; the deadline is Dec. 17. Applications are available at Job & Family Services.

For details, call (740) 852-4770.

West Jefferson Schools, Fire Department and Library

Jefferson Local Schools, the Jefferson Township Fire Department, and Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library are hosting their annual Christmas toy drive.

Families of children who live in the Jefferson Local School District and are in need of help this holiday season are eligible to apply to receive toys. The application deadline is Nov. 27. Toys will be distributed from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 14 in the West Jefferson High School cafeteria. Applications are available at the high school office or the fire department.

Toys, gift cards and monetary donations can be dropped off at any of the following locations: West Jefferson High School, 1 Roughrider Dr.; Jefferson Township Fire Department, 745 W. Main St.; or Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library, 270 Lilly Chapel Rd. The deadline to drop off donations is Dec. 12. Checks should be made out to “Jefferson Local Schools.”

For details, contact Jen Miller at (614) 879-7681, ext. 2300 or

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Members of the Tri-County Joint Fire District in Mount Sterling are collecting donations for the department’s annual toy drive: (from left) firefighters Riley McGraw, Todd Phillips and Zach Graham and Chief Dave Taylor.

Tri-County Joint Fire District in Mount Sterling

It is time again to fill out applications for the Tri-County Joint Firefighters Toy Drive. Families in need who wish to receive toys for Christmas must fill out an application and provide identification and proof of residence, such as an electric bill or phone bill. Applicants must reside in the Tri-County Joint Fire District.

The application period runs through Dec. 6. Forms can be picked up between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the fire house, 7 W. Columbus St., Mount Sterling.

The firefighters are accepting donations of toys and money through Dec. 6. The toy drive benefits children ages 0-12 years old.

For details, call the fire house at (740) 869-2643.

Plain City Churches

The Plain City Church Fellowship is making plans for their annual Christmas Basket project. In 2018, baskets and gifts were distributed to 145 families.

The fellowship is asking for names, addresses and phone numbers of families or individuals in Plain City or Jonathan Alder School District who might need assistance over the holidays. Names can be turned in by calling Plain City Presbyterian Church at (614) 873-5011 or Dave McCray at (614) 408-1617 as soon as possible. All information is kept confidential.

While the largest portion of food for the baskets is purchased by the fellowship through the Plain City Food Bank and at local supermarkets, food can also be donated through local churches, at any Jonathan Alder school or at the Plain City Food Bank. Monetary donations also are welcome and may be given to local churches or made out to Christmas Basket Fund and mailed to Plain City Presbyterian Church, 231 E. Main St., Plain City OH 43064.

Another way to participate is to “adopt” a family and buy the Christmas presents that go with their food basket. Families may be adopted through local churches or by calling the Presbyterian Church or McCray. Guidelines will be provided for purchasing gifts for appropriate age levels.

Volunteers are needed to pack and deliver baskets at 9 a.m. Dec. 21 at Plain City Presbyterian Church. Coffee and doughnuts will be available at 8 a.m.

For details, call Jim Kaufman, food drive chairman, at (937) 243-1653.

West Jefferson Community Association Adopt-a-Family and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7005

These two groups are collecting gifts for children up to high school age who live in West Jefferson and/or are enrolled in Jefferson Local Schools.

Participants are invited to donate new, unwrapped gifts or money for the Community Association to purchase gifts. Monetary donations should be made out to “West Jefferson Community Association Adopt-a-Family” and mailed to the attention of Vickie Edwards at P.O. Box 142, West Jefferson, OH 43162.

Another way to help is by “adopting” families for which to buy gifts. Tags that list the clothing sizes and toy wishes of area children decorate trees at West Jefferson Hardware, Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library and VFW Post 7005. Participants take a tag and fulfill the wishes listed on it, then return the gifts to the place they picked up the tag by the date listed on the tag.

Unwrapped gifts also can be dropped off at Bambino’s Pizza.

Additionally, the VFW would like to adopt area families who have military backgrounds.

For more information about donating toys, adopting families, or referring families (with or without military backgrounds), call Edwards at (614) 582-1328. Area families in need can call Edwards for an application or pick up a form at the library. Applications will be cross-checked with other non-profit organizations and Madison County Job and Family Services to prevent duplication.

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