Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TOP STORY >> Group seeks toys, cash

By JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

The Cabot Christmas Alliance and Cabot Christmas for Kids are doing more this year than ever before to provide food and toys for needy families in the Cabot School District.

Enough food baskets were packed Saturday at the old Knightís store on Main Street to provide Christmas dinner for 800 families, which is up about 150 from previous years. That should be enough to take care of everyone already on their list and others who have not yet applied, said Cheryl Moore, secretary-treasurer of Cabot Christmas Alliance.

However, Cabot Christmas for Kids needs toys and cash to buy more toys to provide for the 1,300 children already on their list.

Bill Holden, who has collected toys for children for 33 years, said this week that Cabot Christmas for Kids, the organization he heads, spent $11,000 over the weekend. He knows of $370 that children have collected at one of the Cabot schools. But that isnít enough to meet the need this year.

ďI donít know where the rest will come from, but the Good Lord always seems to provide,Ē Holden said.

Almost all the money to fund the toys program comes from Cabot firefighters, who recently raised $9,600 from their annual Fill the Boot drive, where they stand at main intersections with their boots in hand asking motorists to give what they can.

School children also help and every school in the district as well as several area businesses, such as Kmart, Dollar General and Centennial Bank, have dropoff boxes for new toys, Holden said. But this year, with the need greater than before, it simply hasnít been enough.

But itís not too late to help.

Holden, director of custodial services for the Cabot School District, said cash may be dropped off at the school warehouse at 310 G.P. Murrell Drive all week until 4 p.m. Friday.

ďIf they send a check in the mail, it wonít get to us in time,Ē he said.

Distribution of food boxes and toys starts at 8 a.m. Saturday. Those who signed up early will receive a letter with instructions by Thursday.

Itís not too late to sign up.

To apply for food, call 501- 628-2706.

To receive toys, go by the school warehouse and fill out an application.

Distribution for those who apply late and donít receive instructions in the mail starts at noon. Identification and proof of address, such as a utility bill, is required.

To have new toys picked up to give away to needy children, call 743-3560 or 941-8351.