Toys await eager children today at local pantry
HARLINGEN — The Ninja turtle sat waiting for eager young hands to take him home.
A stick horse seemed on standby to give children free rides, and a joyous snow man waited for a place in a child’s room.
The toys at the Harlingen Neighborhood Food Pantry were gifts from children at Calvary Christian School, and they probably all went home today with a grateful child.
“ Calvary Christian dropped off 90 toys,” said Wende Coffman, a coordinator of the food pantry.
The food pantry generally gives away, well, food, but this time of year there’s a little something extra for the kids, a much-needed boost for the holiday spirit. Families who come to the food bank today will pick up the usual load of groceries before going to the back room where the toys await their new home.
“ Our people will walk with them and help them find a gift,” she said. “Some of the parents will say this is the only gift their child is going to get. It’s really important to them. It’s just awesome.”
While a few others have donated toys, the bulk of the batch at the food pantry came as the result of an initiative by the National Junior Honor Society at Calvary Christian School.
“ Our chapter wanted to do a toy drive,” said Melissa Schrimsher, sponsor. “We asked all the classrooms for donations of new unwrapped toys.”
The drive began late last month and ended yesterday.
The students who conducted the drive, all eighth graders, were inspired by their volunteer work at the pantry around Thanksgiving.
“ We had made a great big food donation to them for Thanksgiving and so they got the idea to do a toy drive,” she said. “It was their idea. Our students wanted to make it possible for those kids to have a good Christmas. It actually made them very grateful for what they have.”
Back at the food pantry, Coffman wishes she could be there when kids and parents pick up their toys.
“ It gets pretty emotional for the parents,” she said.
Toys are being given out each Wednesday throughout the month of December along with the food.