With nearly 150 families and more than 360 children, the Christmas shopping list is a lengthy one for the Santa Pal program in Killeen.
With a week to go before families pick up their donated gifts, organizers are asking for more donations and scrambling to make sure the list gets finished.
“We probably don’t even have half of the toys that we need,” said Maureen Jouett, one of Santa Pal’s organizers. “We’re really hurting this year.”
Toy donations, which can be dropped off at several locations in town, have been slow.
The program is set to donate toys to 149 families this year, totaling 366 children.
“We usually give (each child) two toys,” Jouett said, adding each family also gets a board game.
Organizers will take donations until Dec. 17, when families are scheduled to pick up toys at the Killeen Help Center, 718 N. Second St.
Volunteers put toys and games for each family in a bag that parents will pick up with valid ID, said Geraldine Lorio, another longtime organizer.
Toys appropriate for a boy or girl ages 2 to 12 are welcome, but toy guns or other toy weapons are not allowed, Lorio said. Especially needed right now are toys for 8- to 12-year-olds, she added. All donations need to be unwrapped.
The Killeen Santa Pal program is a joint effort of the Bell County HELP Center, Exchange Club of Killeen and Bring Everyone in the Zone.
Santa Pal got a boost earlier this week with a $1,000 donation from the Killeen Daily Herald’s Elf program.
For more information, call Jouett at 254-681-9112 or Lorio at 254-371-6554.