Community Leaders Fill Toys for Tots Void

An organization known for helping families put presents under the tree is not around this year, creating a void in our community.

The Toys for Tots campaign in Southwestern Indiana ended this year, but now local businesses and organizations are trying to fill the void.

Paparazzi is more known for dresses and luxury goods. But this year, they’re stepping into a new line with other organizations to make sure those in need have a joyful season.

“I have three kids myself. So thinking about the disappointment of a child not getting a Christmas gift was enough to make me kinda want to get involved,” explained Paparazzi owner Kassy Lauer.

Most of those stepping into Kassy’s shop are on the hunt for the finer things.

But this business owner knows firsthand what many Tri-State kids going without are going through.

“I actually grew up in poverty, so I understand that when you can’t afford something, you can’t afford it,” she added.

With no one stepping up to chair this year’s Southwest Indiana Toys for Tots, local leaders have instead banded together on their own, wanting to make sure the joys of Christmas still make it to every kid in the River City.

“We just wanted to step up make sure as a community we work together to make sure this happens,” explained Courtney Johnson, founder of Young & Established.

While Johnson and his Young & Established team do their own toy drive each year, this year, the stakes are higher.

But they’re rising to the challenge, along with those donating.

“We didn’t know it would be this many kids. But it was just one of those things that we wanted to step up and be just involved in. It has something to do with kids and bringing the community together,” Johnson added.

And so, the toy boxes are still filling up, with businesses around their city setting up bins for collection with hopes that by December 14, they’re ready to go for those most in need of happy holidays.

“We have a lot of volunteers, but of course we need some more of them. We have a lot of toys, but of course we need a lot more toys,” Johnson explained.

If you’re interested in helping out with this year’s toy drive, more information can be found here.



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