EATON — Preble County residents turned out to Santa’s Cabin in Fort St. Clair on Saturday, Dec. 2 to help the main elf gather toys for Christmas.
The Register-Herald’s 15th Annual Kids for Kids Open House and Toy Drive took over Fort St. Clair as Santa collected close to 300 toys for area children.
Additional toys were still coming in to the R-H office at press time.
All the toys go to the Preble County Christmas for Kids Project, a community collaborative which serves Preble County families during the holiday season.
Over the course of the past 14 years, the Kids for Kids toy drive has collected nearly 12,000 toys for the initiative. Last year, over 500 were donated.
The Kids for Kids event was conceived as a “reverse” holiday tradition, allowing children to practice the art of giving and helping Santa help local families have Christmas toys under the tree each year.
Toys can be dropped off at the Register-Herald’s office prior to the event, but many come out to Santa’s Cabin to have their picture taken with Santa and to enjoy refreshments and holiday spirit.
The Workman Family has made the event a holiday tradition, since their first child was born. This marks their third year at the Kids for Kids event.
“To kickoff the holiday season, we wanted our kids to participate in an event that was a part of the giving tradition, rather than the receiving tradition,” Ashley Workman explained. “I work in human services, in the county. I see the need with where I work and with kids as well.
“Even though this season our society says it is all about receiving and we are focused on our own kids, I think it is important for the kids to know that it is not about receiving, but that there is joy in giving to others.”
“We have a lot of toys, so we try to stress to them that a lot of kids don’t have that and it is important to give back,” David Workman added.
Their kids also look forward to the event, with their eldest daughter talking about it constantly.
“I think this is a very good event. We’ve been here for the past three years,” Ashley Workman said. “It just seems like the turnout is really nice and it is a good opportunity to get the family out to do something festive. We will be back next year.”
Kim Schmidt brought her family out to the Fort for the first time this year. For years she has donated to the church, but saw the event in the paper. She wanted give back to the community and wanted her kids to see others donating as well.
“Christmas has always been a big holiday for me,” she said. “I enjoy it thoroughly and I have great memories of being a kid. I want other kids to have great memories too. I think the biggest thing is taking my kids with me. I think they get more out of seeing it, then hearing about it.
“They know that we’re going to do this together, but to actually come and see this, they’ll remember it a lot longer. Maybe they’ll pass this on to their kids too. We will be back next year.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH