Adopt-An-Angel, Toy Run, Together Make a Happy Christmas By Joyce Rhyne

Archived in the category: General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Dec 11 - 0 Comments

The Toy Run arrives!

Thanks to the efforts of a few dozen generous boating enthusiasts and some caring local citizens, more than 500 children will be enjoying a happy Christmas this year.

The boaters make up the “Toy Run”, the brainchild of Jerry Karnes and his friends in the Houston area. For the past nine years they have been making the 79-mile trip from Freeport down the Intracoastal and across the bay, in good weather and in terrible weather, to bring boat-loads of donated toys for needy children in our area. This year more than 30 boats arrived in Port O’Connor on December 3. There were so many boats with so many toys, they couldn’t all be unloaded at The Inn at Clark’s docks. Many had to dock at neighboring Caracol and carry the toys to the awaiting trailers at Clark’s. As usual, quite a number of Port O’Connor locals were on hand to help with the unloading.

Marcy, Bill and Jonathan Barr the first Toy Run boat to arrive at Clark’s

Unloading the toys

A boatload of Santas and bikes!

Toy Run photos by Bret Williams

The trailers filled with toys are stored in a secure area until the next day, when the Adopt-An-Angel Committee and their helpers begin the all-day task of unloading and sorting the toys. Some of the toys will go to the more than 50 children in Port O’Connor’s Adopt-An-Angel Program. Combined with the clothing, shoes, and other items bought by local volunteers, these children can expect to find that Santa has deemed them “very good” this year.

The Adopt-An-Angel Program begins in November when children whose parents/guardians realize they won’t be able to provide much in the way of gifts, submit their requests to the Committee. Each child is given a number – names are never given out – and locals volunteer to provide $100 worth of clothing for that child. The volunteers receive all the child’s vital statistics, but never know their names.

The numbers are drawn at the POC Hardware store, where Wanda, Teddy and other employees have assisted this effort for more than ten years. When the wrapped gifts are returned, they are stored securely at the store.

The program began about 20 years ago as the “Angel Tree” at Port O’Connor School. The Adopt-An-Angel Committee is actually Port O’Connor’s Marie Hawes and Brenda Smith. “I so appreciate the Port O’Connor community,” said Marie. “I try to give back whenever I can.”

The toys brought by the Toy Run covered the gamut of nearly anything a child could wish for. Everything from hula hoops to fishing poles, art supplies, dress-up stuff, games, balls, dolls, stuffed animals and toddler toys was spread out in the staging area for sorting and giving away. There were even 65 shiny new bicycles. This was enough to keep Marie and Brenda and their ten selfless helpers busy the entire day.

At the end of the day, toys were given to more than 500 area children. In addition to the Adopt-An-Angel children, toys were distributed as follows:

The Harbor; Sheriff’s Dept.’s Brown Santa; Grace Episcopal Church; two organizations in Seadrift; Foster Care of Edna/Calhoun County; Victoria Red Cross; and the six Guerro children of Goliad whose house burned down on December 1.

Volunteers unload and sort toys from the Toy Run.

Marie Hawes

Wanda Redding (left) and Brenda Smith (right) sort through the toys.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the Toy Run and the Adopt-An-Angel program!

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