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Donation boxes go out for Helping Santa Toy Drive

It’s Christmastime in the city – or very nearly – and with the application period for Russellville’s Helping Santa Toy Drive ending tomorrow, the donation period is already well-begun.

Firefighters and police officers were putting donation boxes out all over town to collect toys for needy children in Russellville and across the county. The program, in its ninth year, is a joint effort coordinated by the Russellville Police Department and the Russellville Fire Department, but it also involves the city and community. Donations will be used to fulfill the Christmas wishes of local children in need. Toys as well as monetary donations will be accepted in donation boxes around town.

RFD Lt. Jeremy Glenn said if any high-traffic business in the Russellville area would like a donation box at their location, they can call the fire department.

One thing Glenn said he hopes people will remember is that the Helping Santa Toy Drive is designed to bring smiles to children’s faces on Christmas morning – and that means the toys need to be new or in great condition. While some gently-used toys are OK to donate, people shouldn’t use the opportunity to offload their old and damaged toys. If it belongs in a Dumpster, it doesn’t belong under the Christmas tree.

“We get remote control cars that don’t have the remote control,” Glenn said. “We get baseball sets that don’t have all the parts and stuffed animals that have names on them and stickers pulled off of them … And their kids don’t play with them anymore because of that reason … We have people literally bringing in truckloads of stuff, and it’s a nice thought, but they’re bringing us stuff that needs to be in the dump.”

So what should people donate? The RFD recommends toys in the $5-10 range and a focus on items for children younger than 5 and 13+, as these are the most difficult to buy for. “It seems like every year, the teenage boys and girls, we always have to buy stuff for them,” Glenn said. “Anybody who has a teenage kid or had one knows what they are going to like.”

Monetary donations should be taken to a Russellville fire station. Call the RFD for more information.