Weekly Feature

2016-12-07 / Front Page

Rockin’ with Santa helps collect toys for children


“Do you remember when you were a child and your eyes went big as a saucer or you had a smile that went ear to ear?” said John White.

White is referencing the feeling a child has on Christmas when unwrapping colorful paper to find a pleasant surprise.

“If it wasn’t for ‘Rockin’ with Santa,’ many of these children wouldn’t have the opportunity at all.”

White and his wife, Kate, organize an annual toy drive, which is now in its 16th year. Barrels for toys are placed in various locations throughout the Twin Cities to collect gifts for children up to age 16.

“We have 25 adults who have a warm heart and love helping families who need assistance during the holid ay,” John White said.

One of the most difficult groups to purchase for is the 14 to 16 age bracket, White said.

The families served by the White’s holiday collection are from a list of Tonawanda’s most economically disadvantaged families, which is developed through the St. Francis Outreach and the YWCA.

“Last year, we served 140 families with three gifts per child,” White said, adding that they are looking to satisfy around 150 families this year. He added that 3,000 toys are to be collected.

On Sunday, the gifts will be distributed to the families at the Twin City Elks Lodge 860.

“If you don’t walk in and get goose bumps, you don’t know the true meaning of Christmas,” he said of seeing all the toys at the Elks Lodge.

The North Tonawanda Honor Society assists the Whites’ effort by helping with donated toys from the school, and Dollar General in the City of Tonawanda donates more than 1,000 toys for stocking stuffers and gifts.

White noted that St. Mark Lutheran Church chose Rockin’ with Santa as its toy destination for two years now.

“The whole effort is a community teamwork event with assistance from all over the Tonawandas, and we thank them all for their support.”

Unwrapped toys for children from infancy to 16 can be dropped off at the following locations until Dec. 9: Crazy Jakes, Fast Teddy’s, Tonawanda City Hall, North Tonawanda City Hall, Tonawanda Fire Headquarters, Royal Restaurant, the Chamber of Commerce, Dollar General, the Elks Lodge, St. Mark Lutheran Church on Oliver Street and Evans Bank on Niagara Falls Boulevard.

If you are interested in donating a monetary gift, it can be sent to: “Kids,” P.O. Box 96, Tonawanda, NY 14150-0096.

email: awalters@beenews.com

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