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Santa’s Elgin helpers

Toy Round Up and Caring Hands help children, seniors

Posted: December 23, 2013 5:29 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Santa received some extra help from the town of Elgin providing Christmas cheer to local children, senior citizens and families. With the help of the community, Elgin Police Department’s annual Toy Round Up and Caring Hands programs were able to give approximately 100 children, 20 senior citizens and 50 families help with gifts and meals.

“I personally wanted to thank the people of the community. Their generosity overwhelms me,” Elgin Town Councilmember Melissa Emmons said. “I’ve been involved with this from the beginning and never did we imagine we would grow to the extent that we have. For the economy to be the way it is and for people to give as they have … I feel overwhelmed. There are a lot of elves involved in making this happen.”

During the past week, challenges were issued on the town of Elgin’s Facebook page to let people know that there were still families in need.

“We challenged for a solid week for people in Lugoff and Elgin to assist if they were able to. People really stepped up once the challenge was issued,” Emmons said.

She said it’s a “combination effort” to organize the event. Toys and money must be donated, and families who might need help during the holidays must be identified.

“We coordinate with guidance counselors at all the schools in West Wateree area to find out which families are in need,” Emmons said.

The list of families is then compared with other charitable organizations to ensure that a family is not receiving help from more than one organization.

“We just want to make certain that if a family is getting help from one organization that it frees up another organization to help a family that may not be receiving help from anyone at all,” Emmons said.

Toy Round up and Caring Hands partnered with IGA to provide Christmas meals, including a ham, baking rolls and pound cake, for the families who needed them. In addition to gifts and toys, the Elgin programs wanted to ensure that older members of the community were not forgotten.

“We … also (did) fruit baskets with IGA … distributing those to 20 senior citizens families. They also have needs this time of year,” Emmons said.

Money for the meals, toys and fruit baskets is raised throughout the year through events like the Podunk Festival, where 100 percent of the proceeds go to Toy Round Up.

This year, donations and other money raised enabled the program to purchase new bicycles.

“We had more brand new bikes than we ever had in the past,” Emmons said. “When we say community we never let the town limits stop us. We believe in going beyond. To us, our community is Elgin and the surrounding area. If there is a legitimate need we are going to do our best to meet that need.”

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