The two nonprofit groups join together each year around Christmas to provide toys and shoes to many needy children living in Walker County.
This year’s giveaways will be Saturday, Dec. 8, from 8 a.m. until noon. The location of the giveaways has not been decided and will be announced later.
Parents or legal guardians wishing to sign their children up for both giveaways can call the Eagle office at 205-221-2840 Monday through Thursday between the hours of 4:30 and 6 p.m. The deadline to call for an application is Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The Share A Toy group will only accept the first 500 families to sign up for the giveaway. Only children ages 12 and under are eligible to receive toys. The Eagle Shoe Fund will accept an unlimited number of families for its shoe and coat giveaway, and children 18 and under are eligible for shoe vouchers and coats.
“We have to set a limit, because we only have so many toys to give away,” said Fred Nixon, a co-chairman of the Share A Toy of Walker County board of directors. “We had to set that same limit last year, and I believe we were able to give toys to more than 1,200 children. We try to help just as many as we can.”
Nixon said toys for this year’s giveaway were purchased in June, but the group is still accepting donations to help pay for them.
“All of our funding comes from other nonprofit groups, area businesses and citizens,” he said. “We appreciate all the help we get. We definitely need more donations to help pay for everything.”
Jack McNeely, publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle, said it is a privilege for the newspaper to sponsor the Shoe Fund each year.
“This program was so important to former publishers Doug Pearson and Jerome Wassmann. I am honored to be associated with such a needed program and the dedicated folks here that make it happen each and every year,” McNeely said. Since its inception in 1990, the Eagle Christmas Shoe has distributed more than 30,000 pairs of shoes to children in Walker County.
“That would not have been possible without the support and generosity of the people living in this community,” McNeely said. “The people of Walker County have contributed thousands of dollars to the Eagle Christmas Shoe Fund over the past 20 years and we would like to thank them for their support. We hope they will continue to help us and the folks with Share A Toy of Walker County meet the needs of those who sometimes need a helping hand during the holiday season.”
Organizers of both giveaways ask that those who apply have the following information readily available when they call:
• The number of people living in the household.
• The gross monthly income for the household. This includes gross wages (wages before taxes), social security, child support, alimony, disability, aid to dependent children, food stamps and/or any assistance received with housing and utility bills.
• E911 street address, phone number and social security number of the person calling. That will be the person responsible for picking up toys and shoe vouchers on the day of the giveaway. All applicants will be asked to present their valid photo I.D., social security card and proof of address the day of the giveaways.
• Name, age and gender of each child. Social security cards of each child must be presented the day of the giveaway.