Holiday cheer spread to families in need at Toy Drive

Nov 20, 2022

MIDDLEBORO — Over 200 people packed into the Elks Lodge to celebrate the season of giving and spread holiday cheer to the less fortunate.

The Christmas Toy Drive fundraiser was hosted by the Elks, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and local businesses EPMS, Regional Insurance, Cape Cod Soapworks, Dee’s Mobile Archery, and Surveillance Solutions.

Tickets to the event cost $20 each, and attendees were required to bring unwrapped toys. All donations and proceeds benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Giving Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts for local families in need.

“We love fundraising and the activities, so we’re here to have fun,” said Penny Hannon, whose sister is involved with St. Vincent de Paul. She said she has participated in the toy drive every year.

Lottery tickets to enter for a 55-inch TV and gift baskets were included with the price of admission. 

The program raised over $4,000 through ticket sales. Donated gifts formed a small mountain in front of the stage where local band Southbound played. 

Gifts ranged from stuffed animals to bicycles. Children are eligible for gifts through the Giving Tree program from birth through high school.

Arlyn White, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul co-chairperson, said that toy donations augment the program’s usual gifts of more essential things like clothes.

This edition of the toy drive was the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it is the largest edition in the drive’s near-decade-long history, according to EPMS Owner and toy drive founder Craig Andersen.

The event’s previous record was 90 participants before the pandemic, Anderson said. 

“It started when my brother and I would take our employees out to lunch and then we would go to Target and buy a bunch of toys,” Andersen said. “Then we said, ‘hey, let’s have a party and ask people to bring more toys.”

The program is accepting sign-ups until Nov. 26. Those wishing to sign up may do so from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, or from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 at Sacred Heart Food Pantry, 53 Oak St., Middleboro.