Bowling league names were changed, donations were matched and hours of shopping took place to stock the City of Hope Outreach Christmas Store full of gifts for under-resourced families to shop for their good girls and boys.
Several local businesses joined nonprofits, churches and schools this year to gather donations for the pop-up toyshop.
Situated between mobile home parks Brookside Mobile Village and Oakwood Village, the Christmas Store celebrated its fourth year last weekend providing donated toys and clothes to mobile home community members.
CoHO Executive Director Phillip D. Fletcher said it’s CoHO’s goal to support the dignity of families in low-income areas by giving them the opportunity to fill a box with toys and clothes of their choice, and purchase their gifts with the money they have.
“Instead of getting toys and taking them to someone’s home businesses ... make it possible for us to set up a facility like a store, and families contribute any amount they can afford up to $5,” he said.
Volunteers also help parents wrap their children’s gifts, so they’re ready for Christmas morning.
Fletcher said 105 children in both communities as well as seven additional families from Greenbrier and Vilonia will have Christmas presents this year from the generous donations of the Conway community.
The Tuesday Men’s League at Conway Family Bowl changed their name to City of Hope Outreach and each brought a toy the Tuesday before Black Friday.
League member Shane Lester, a certified mortgage consultant with Wonder State Mortgage, said a lot of people will give if they know the opportunity is there, so he helped organized the night of giving.
“These young men have been bowling for years,” he said. “I pushed them to step outside their comfort zone, and they experienced the opportunity to raise toys for those less fortunate.”
If bowlers forgot to bring a toy, Wonder State Mortgage provided a Kindle Fire so bowlers could purchase a raffle ticket for $15 or two for $25 with all proceeds going to CoHO to purchase more gifts for the Christmas Store.
With the 120 men who bowl as part of the Tuesday night league, more than 250 toys were donated to the Christmas Store.
Caldwell Toyota-Scion also made a notable donation, making a company promise to match any monetary donation raised by employees.
Employees donated $1,265 to the dealership’s annual Christmas Toy Drive. Caldwell Toyota-Scion then matched the donation bringing the total to $2,530.
“The selflessness and commitment of our associates to the children in our community is inspiring,” said Jay Caldwell, general manager.
Office Manager Danielle Freyaldenhoven organized the drive. Then with employees Justin Hatfield and Emily Burns spent five hours shopping for $2,530 worth of toys for Conway children.
Fletcher said CoHO was extremely blessed by local businesses, churches and private individuals this year.
“I’m looking forward to a new year, and God willing to doing this again next year,” he said.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)