PHS, Oak Mountain Missions partner for toy drive

By BRIANA HARRIS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham High School’s Student Government Association and athletic department are teaming up to host a toy drive now through Dec. 2.

The gifts will be donated to Oak Mountain Missions Ministries where they will be distributed to children during the holidays. The Oak Mountain Missions Auxiliary and Riverchase United Methodist Church’s youth group also donate toys for the drive.

Those who would like to donate should drop off new, unopened and unwrapped toys in the main office at any of Pelham’s four schools – Pelham Oaks Elementary, Pelham Ridge Elementary, Riverchase Middle and Pelham High School. The Pelham Public Library will also serve as a drop off location.

Oak Mountain Missions assistant director Dianne Cesario said toys are being collected for newborns to high school seniors. Oak Mountain Missions asks that the public provide age appropriate gifts as well as gift cards.

“As kids get older it becomes harder to shop for them because they develop interests in different things, so what we like to do is get them a gift and them give them a gift card so they can buy whatever they like.”

The toy drive benefits the Missions’ Overflow Christmas program, which helps families who have missed the deadline to apply for Christmas assistance programs.

“The application process for Christmas assistance programs happens very early,” Cesario said. “Our application process ended in mid-October, but there are still families that need help.”

To receive help from the Overflow Christmas program, parents should contact Oak Mountain Missions to set up an appointment. Last year the program provided toys for 137 children.

On the day that the gifts are distributed, parents go to Oak Mountain Missions and pick out gifts for their children. Cesario said the number of families who receive assistance depends on the amount of toys donated.

“One time a few years ago while we parents were shopping for gifts, the director came to me and said we might have to cut back on the number of gifts we were giving each parent because we were starting to run out,” Cesario said. “And then low and behold, a short time later somebody from Pelham High School pulls up with a truck load of new toys. We were able to continue allowing parents to get the same number of gifts.”

The Overflow Christmas program has been helping families for about six years. For more information contact Oak Mountain Missions at 685-5757.