CLYDE — The “Caring for Clyde Kids” community toy collection kicked off its 20th year Nov. 1. The program began as a seventh grade service project of former Clyde St. Mary’s students under the direction of teacher, Sharon Kinnear, back in 1993. Some toys were collected, cleaned and then given to the local food pantry just to pass out to anyone they felt may be deserving.
Over the years, the collection has grown and became too much for students to handle so that is where others got involved. The toy collection was given the name “Caring for Clyde Kids” by Kay Dick, St. Mary’s School secretary, as a reason why people should donate to the cause. It soon became apparent that there was a need in Clyde to help families out during the holidays. Year after year, the new and used toys continued to fill a little box which was located in the lobby of the former St. Mary’s School. Toys were inspected to be safe and cleaned if need be. People would stop by the school office and donate money, telling school officials to buy what they thought kids would like.
To date and 20 years later, the collection has grown to more collection boxes and has become very successful and very well received. One of the main reasons for the success is that the “toys” stay in Clyde. Only families who reside in the Clyde-Green Springs School District may obtain toys once they fill out the proper paper work at the local Food Pantry located on McPherson Highway attached to the EMS building. Parents will receive one new toy and one used toy if enough donations are received. Food pantry volunteers serve as Santa’s elves and sort the toys and help supervise the distribution each Thursday in December prior to Christmas.
Collection boxes this year are located at all the Clyde-Green Springs School buildings, St. Mary’s, Croghan Bank, Family Eye Care, Post Office, City Building, and new city Finance Office. Boxes will be out through Dec. 10, when the collection ends. No stuffed animals are being accepted. All toys should be new or in perfect condition. The best decision while sorting the toys is “Would a child smile at this toy when they open it Christmas morning?” The age group of children served is 0-18 years. The average price of a new toy purchased is about $10 this year.
Clyde city crews help pick up the toys from the collection boxes and transport to the pantry weekly. Clyde Police have collection boxes at the City Building and Clyde Patrolman Dennis Hall is instrumental in running the Food Pantry. The Clyde Firemen provide financial support, as well as civic groups in Clyde. Donations have come from as far as Arizona where donors saw the event on Facebook. Shopping for toys has been done at Family Dollar, Miller’s Super Value, Dollar General, Rite Aid, Drug Mart, K-Mart, Walmart, Toys R Us, and online.
The community, along with help of Christmas-Fest and the Clyde Business and Professional Association, is the reason for the success.
If anyone has any questions, contact Kay Dick, Caring for Clyde Kids, 145 Nelson St., Clyde, OH 43410; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 419-547-8014. People may also contact Dennis Hall at the Police Department.