Annual distribution is Saturday at fairgrounds
MANTI—Hundreds of needy parents are expected to drop by the Exhibit Building at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds on Saturday for the annual Toys for Tots/Sub for Santa gift distribution.
The distribution will start at 10 a.m. and run to approximately 4 p.m., says Bryan Spencer, co-chair of the Sanpete County Humanitarian Council, which sponsors the program.
Anyone can volunteer to help by simply showing up Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. “We need help throughout the day, so if they can’t come in the morning, they can come in the afternoon,” Spencer says. The goal is to complete the distribution and clean up by 6 p.m.
The Humanitarian Council has a streamlined process. Recipients show up, fill out a one-page form, show proof they are Sanpete County residents (a driver’s license or utility bill will suffice), and then go to different tables based on the ages of their children to pick up gifts.
The age groups are infants, toddlers, young children (up to about 8), older children, and preteens or early teens. The upper age limit is 14.
Many of the toys come from the Marine Corps Reserve, national sponsor of Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots seeks to provide a stocking stuffer, book and toy for each child served. But in addition, Sub for Santa, a program supported entirely by Sanpete County residents, can usually help with some new or nearly new clothing and shoes for a child.
Spencer suggests a few guidelines for people seeking assistance. Only one adult, such as the custodial parent, should pick up gifts for children in a family. There have been instances of a parent, grandparent and aunt all coming by to pick up items for the same children, he says.
“We discourage parents from bringing kids, although we realize some parents don’t have a choice,” he said.
Recipients can be from any community in Sanpete County, including the Gunnison Valley, Spencer says. The exception is that residents of Manti and Sterling who have applied to be included on the Jensen’s Department Store Tree of Angels are not eligible for the distribution at the fairgrounds.
According to Spencer, Toys for Tots/Sub for Santa served more than 900 children last year.