Still making Christmas bright for 400-plus Ozark County kids


Ozark County Toy Drive chairperson Nancy Walker, left, with granddaughter Crystal Walker House and great-grandson Daden House, shows her happiness as more than a dozen volunteers work in the background, putting the final touches on this year’s Dec. 15 toy and gift give-away. The doors opened at 9 a.m. Saturday in the old senior center, and by 12:30 p.m., parents had been given gifts for 440 children. Photos courtesy Crystal Walker House.

Toy drive chair Nancy Walker commended these boys who helped with the event Saturday. “They took their jobs very seriously and did a real good job,” she said. Front row, from left: Isaac Pippin, Lyle Pippin (front), Hunter Luna (back), Justin Devries holding Walker House and Daden House holding Wyatt Alms. Back: Bryson Martin, Cooper Friend, Jarett Hogan, Camden Evans, Dawson Duke. (Not pictured, Phoenix Rodgers.)

This year’s Ozark County Toy Drive distributed gifts, clothes, treats and other items to the parents of 440 children Saturday morning at the old senior center on Third Street in Gainesville. Chairperson Nancy Walker said the cheerful army of volunteers “was serious about their job” of making sure the holiday is merry for Ozark County youngsters who otherwise might not have gifts on Christmas morning. 

About 90 parents stood in line early Saturday morning to get numbers that would determine their order for entering the facility when the doors opened at 9 a.m. Gifts were displayed on tables that filled the two rooms of the building, and parents could choose from a wide variety of items that were then gift-wrapped and carried to the parents’ vehicles. 

For each of their children, parents got three stocking stuffers and “a nice big gift,” Walker said, plus other items. “I think everyone left happy. I sure hope they did. God blessed us with wonderful weather as the morning went on; by noon, the sun was out. I was really thankful.”

Parents also could draw for one of what Walker calls the “big prizes,” including 13 bicycles and 11 tricycles and wagons. By 12:30 p.m., the event, a year in the making, was over. Most of the toy drive gifts had been distributed, and the last parent had headed home. Now Walker begins the task of shopping for next year’stoy drive, especially the after-Christmas sales.

The Ozark County Toy Drive has happened annually for decades and operates completely on  donations of what Walker calls “our generous community. People are so good,” she said.

To help fund her shopping efforts in the year ahead, make checks payable to Ozark County Toy Drive and mail to her at 378 Harlin Drive, Gainesville, MO 65655.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423

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