Though donations are still encouraged, the Clinton County Christmas Bureau is on track to equal the funds raised in 2012.
Exact figures were still being calculated, but Co-Director Tammy Perrotte Sears said total donations were expected to reach or finish just below the $50,000 raised in 2012.
“The money’s coming in the door every day, so we’re anticipating that to be a goal amount,” she said.
Those funds go toward providing Christmas gifts and meals to low-income families with children ages 16 and younger. Friday was the deadline to apply for the program.
Applicants were required to provide identification for each member of the household as well as custodial and child-support documents and proofs of income.
Friday, donated toys lined the aisles in the makeshift toy store at the Christmas Bureau center in Suite 200 at 625 Route 3 in Plattsburgh. Dolls, puzzles and miniature race cars contributed to the colorful inventory standing out against the cement walls of the facility.
Since early November, volunteers have worked to divide the toys by brand name and the age group and gender for which they are best suited.
Still needed are gifts for ages 9 to 12, Perrotte Sears said. She suggests donors think about what toys their own children that age have put on their Christmas lists.
“If they are looking for particular toys, those are also the same toys that our recipients are looking for,” she said.
Popular brands this year include Legos, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Monster High toys, she said. And they could use more outdoor winter toys such as sleds and snow tubes.
“Something to get them out of the house,” she said.
About 1,100 families applied for the Christmas Bureau program in 2012 and, although applications were still being collected at press time, Perrotte Sears said they were expecting to have roughly that number this year.
Until the final number of applicants and monetary donations are tallied, she said, it will be hard to tell whether the fundraising totals will be enough to meet the needs of the organization.
“I always hate to say we seem to be doing OK because until we do those numbers we’re never sure,” she said.
For anyone looking to contribute, Sears said cash donations are preferred at this time.
“We’ve got lots of toys from lots of avenues coming in through the door,” she said.
Though Sears said the bureau had enough volunteers for the season at the moment, she encouraged those looking to donate their time to contact the center at 562-1253 and add their name and contact information to the volunteer waiting list.
“If we need something done when we don’t have the manpower, we’ll certainly pick up the phone and call and ask for their help,” she said.
The bureau is a nonprofit community-funded, volunteer-staffed organization, and it is the volunteer spirit that it inspires that is one of its most defining and impressive features, Sears said.
“Even after all these years, it’s still overwhelming to me to see how giving the local community is.”