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SPREADING JOY: How a toy drive is helping tornado victims in Elkhorn

Posted at 5:10 PM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-12 18:10:23-04

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — St. Patrick’s Catholic Church held a toy drive Saturday in Elkhorn, one more way to help tornado victims. The goal of the drive is to give kids something to smile about and help take their minds off their worries since the tornado hit.

“We are collecting items and filling totes,” Nicole Ferguson, volunteer coordinator, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church said. “Every tote will go to a kid individually who is affected that lost everything.”

Julie Meier works for toy company Hobbytown, the company donated enough toys to fill her van.

[Kids’] lives are kind of turned upside down,” She said. “They have no idea what’s going on, so getting some sort of toy big or small, It's just a good distraction.”

It was important for volunteer Mike Baumer to be part of this effort, he knows what it’s like to be in these kids’ shoes.

“Our house was destroyed by the ‘75 tornado,” Baumer said. “I can certainly relate to the events that these families have gone through and then the subsequent rebuilding of everything.

The totes are filled with enough toys to keep each kid they go to entertained, all for different genders and age groups. Some are personalized, and all will go wherever the kids go.

“They created these so that they were movable,” Baumer said. “These families are going to move a couple times before their houses are rebuilt.”

The hope is they’ll bring joy in tough times.

“Kids are a big part of my heart,” Meier said. “I love helping kids in any way, so this is good.”

St. Patrick’s volunteers hope to continue holding drives like this for as long as it takes, for more information on volunteer opportunities, head to their website.

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