Toys for Tots another big success

Christmas Wishes program also will aid families in need

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— Cassidy Kurtz, Routt County Fair and Rodeo queen, helped Jean Morrow and Millie Beall sort out the final toys in the back of a Ford truck at Steamboat Motors to be distributed to children in Routt County.

About 500 toys were collected through the Toys for Tots program this holiday season.

"Parents participate in the program to teach their children how to give," said Beall, United Way executive director.

The Toys for Tots program worked in conjunction with United Way's Christmas Wishes program. Toys received through the program could be collected by people sponsoring a family wish list for the Christmas season.

A list of items needed to fulfill a family's Christmas wish list at Steamboat Motors' toy collection was furnished and delivered by the person sponsoring the family.

"The partnership between the programs doesn't put such a burden on a person sponsoring a family," Beall said.

Beall said without the wish lists, the toys would not have been continually collected and many toys could be left over after the holiday season.

Many people in the community are also supporting the program with their time.

The special education department of the Steamboat schools will deliver toys to the day-care centers on Christmas Day.

"It's a great way to spend time during the holidays," Morrow said.

Morrow and Kurtz said they both felt the program was a valuable asset to the community and enjoyed the opportunity to help out.

The Soroco High School woodshop is making a box for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse's center that can be used as a sandbox, water box or chalkboard. The box will be available for children to play with while speaking with a therapist. The woodshop is also constructing an easel for Advocates' center.

The Visiting Nurse Association, Steamboat Mental Health and LIFT-UP were among the organizations that called in the needs of families in Routt County. From the requests of these organizations and others, Christmas wish lists were formed and given to sponsors.

The toy collection has been located at Steamboat Motors since 1996.

John Centner, co-owner and general manager of Steamboat Motors, said the program was started at that location to keep the program local to ensure toys collected would go to needy children within the Routt County area.

Centner said he gets to see a lot of the families and people coming in to donate toys for the season.

"I love this," Centner said. "It's fun watching families come in and make this a family event.

"My children have what they need to have; this is a good thing for them to see."

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