Toy Drive thrives

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

Santa may deliver a lot of presents this year, but many of those gifts in Runnels County will be delivered by elves wearing the badge and tan uniforms of the Runnels County Sheriff Department. Santa has been put on notice.

The Coal Burnin' Toy Drive BBQ Cook Off was organized by Tony and Jennifer Flores to help bring in toys for the Runnels County Sheriff Department's annual toy drive.

The Runnels County Sheriff Department toy drive is entering it's second decade, started 20 years ago by Sheriff Bill Baird, who retired a few years ago. Baird's successor, Sheriff Carl Squyres, has kept the tradition going, helping to bring a merry Christmas to almost 300 families every year.

The toy drive went into overdrive in 2018 when a corporate sponsor dropped out. Squyres made a plea to the public to help fill the void left by the sponsor withdrawing. The plea was answered quickly and passionately by the citizens of Runnels County, as well as groups and organizations from other counties.

Last year Squyres commented about the toy drive and how it brightens Christmas for the families, "I have seen the pure joy on the faces of the families when they see the gifts they will be able to give their children, who would have done without on Christmas morning. I also have seen the joy in the faces of Runnels County citizens when they make their donations. This toy drive is something I am proud to continue. As I said before I have seen the faces of the families who receive these gifts. I know without a doubt people’s generosity makes each Christmas much more joyous for these children. Through your donations they not only receive toys, but clothing, blankets, hygiene products and many other items these children need.”

This year the toy drive once again brought in enough toys to take care of 258 children in the county. One addition this year was the Coal Burnin' Toy Drive Cook Off organized by Tony and Jennifer Flores. Part of the entry fee for the December 5 cook off was a $20 toy. The 17 teams who participated in the toy drive brought in more than just 17 toys. A mountain of toys were donated, including several bicycles, as well as an electric truck.

Squyres issued a statement regarding the toy drive and sponsors, "Another toy drive has come and gone. The Runnels County Sheriff’s Office with the help of many citizens, businesses and organizations in Runnels and surrounding Counties has again filled our hearts with pride for what we here in this part of the world do for each other when the need arises.

This year has been a hard year for everyone. With your help we have made this Christmas a little better for 258 less fortunate children in Runnels County.

The Runnels County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following for their generous monetary donations in making this another successful Christmas toy drive for the children of Runnels County. The sponsors included: Coleman County Electric Coop, Charles Hensley, Willingham Ins., John/Charlotte Werner, Mary Wade, Ricky Barnett, Ballinger Rotary, Ballinger Walmart, Tim Timmerman, Mike Hiebert, Clay and Deborah Earbshaw, Billie Schaefer, Bernard Schaefer, Mike Dankworth, Kevin and Cynthia Spreen, Randall and Sherri Chapman, Shoppin Basket, Steve Sales

We would also like to thank the following organizations for their support for organizing events to benefit the toy drive; Coal Burnin Cook Off, Oscar and Rosa Galindo-Kick ball tournament, Mid-West Texas Art Guild, Dollar General, Winters Volunteer Fire Department, The Last Chapter Business Solutions, KRUN AM Radio, B-Town BBQ, Bulldog BBQ, Frey Cattle Company and the Talented Friends Boutique.