Each year we have several who help with supplying gifts for children in need at Christmas time. Some include the Angel Tree, who has been a blessing for 30+ years, some religious organizations and others. A new ministry, The Last Minute Toy Shop, has announced its 2023 shopping day is Saturday, December 16, 2023.
“The Lord laid this on my heart last December after seeing a piece on the one done in Nashville,” said Angie Meadows. “Times keep getting harder and especially at Christmas. We want to spread the love of Jesus and His giving heart.”
Meadows, along with a small group of volunteers she honored to call “the Jesus Squad” have been working since last December on fundraising, purchasing toys, and putting together a plan to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for the December date.
“We just jumped right into making it happen,” said Meadows. “I made a post on social media last December asking the community to remember the LMTS when they saw wrap and other supplies went on sale. There were a couple of people who graciously brought rolls of paper, and I was so excited.”
Fundraisers held throughout the year, sponsored by local businesses with participation of the community, helped raise funds to purchase toys. Toy drives will also be a big part of what is available on shopping day.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department toy drive will be held this Saturday, November 18 in the Walmart parking lot from 9am-3pm. The DeKalb County Volunteer Fired Department will also host a toy drive on December 9, 2023 from 9am-3pm. Toys collected at the Festival of Trees event to be held December 4 from 5am-8pm will also be donated to the LMTS.
“The Last Minute Toy Shop will service children ages birth to 18 years old and still in school,” said Meadows. “There are rules and an application process, but we are glad we are able to include the older children. Sometimes they may not be eligible with other programs.”
Application will be taken in the cafeteria area at the complex on December 6-8 from 4-8pm and on Saturday, December 9 from 1-6pm. The following items are required, and if they are not presented with the completed application, you will be turned away. Items include: Proof of DeKalb County residency: (latest water, electric bill, etc.); Photo ID of parent/guardian: (this is the person who will shop for the child/children); Proof of each child’s age: (child’s birth certificate.); Proof why assistance needed: (low-income housing receipts, families first or food stamp card, rent recpt w/utility recpts.) If a child has already received help from another organization, LMTS may still be able to allow them one gift, but you will receive a later appointment.
“We will be mirroring the organization in Nashville, as far as how the shopping day will be done,” Meadows added. “When we accept an application the person will be given an appointment time. That time is set and cannot be changed, as we expect too many people and cannot be changing schedules. On Saturday, December 16 shoppers need to arrive five or ten minutes prior to their appointment. They need to check in, then will be directed what to do after that.
Each child will received two gifts, or one big gift. They will also receive a board or card game, stocking stuffer and a Bible.
“Each shopper will be given a “personal shopper” who will walk with them through the toy shop, as each person will be given 15 minutes,” said Meadows. “We have to do this to keep everything flowing and get in as many people as we can in the time we can. If someone is not there at their appointed time, then we will move to the next person. There is no “make-up” time or day. This is a one shot thing.”
“And thanks to the DeKalb County Sherriff’s deputies who will be on-hand all day,” added Meadows, “we expect the day to run smoothly.”
Fundraisers for 2024 are already planned, and include Egg My Yard, Princess Dream Day, Mother/Daughter Dinner, Jamboree Pageants, Father’s Day Golf Scramble, Chili Supper/Silent Auction and Fall Fest Pageants.