What are the Blue Santa barrels you see around town and in the shopping areas of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County? These barrels are part of the way in which local law enforcement plans to make the holiday brighter for some children with toys for Christmas. Just place new toys in the barrels when you are shopping between now and December 6. When a barrel gets full, it’s emptied and put back in service. Since October, all the toys are being gathered at a central location to be distributed to qualifying families in mid-December. This way, the families can place the toys under the tree for their children to open at home at Christmas. Families who would like to sign up to qualify for the Blue Santa program can do so at CANHelp, 613 Gilmer Street, on weekdays from 8am til 4:30pm, or call 903-885-9797. It is expected that more 800 Hopkins County children will be served at Christmas 2019.
Besides donating new toys in the blue barrels, there are additional ways you can help. Take advantage of the Toy Drive, a 2-day drive-thru event on the Lowe’s parking lot Monday December 2 and Tuesday December 3 from 7 am til 7 pm. Local law enforcement will be there to take toy donations from you, as well as money donations for use in the program. If donating money, you can earmark it be used to buy items for “teens” or other ages of children. You can donate a bicycle for a child just by dropping it off, preferably pre-assembled. Or your church or organization can gather toys and donate them to the Drive. Also during the Toy Drive, there will be a BBQ lunch fundraiser both days with a BBQ sandwich prepared by CJ Duffey along with chips, dessert and drink for $5. Choice Hospice is providing these lunches both days for purchase or for delivery, as a fundraiser to purchase more toys.
After all the toys are collected, they will be sorted and bundled for each family on the list by Empty Stocking volunteers. Distribution Day is the morning of December 14 from the FUMC distribution center. A family member can pick the toys up in a drive-thru fashion, then the toys can be wrapped at home. In this way, Blue Santa helps Hopkins County families have a brighter Christmas for their children in 2019!