There is an image that bothers pastor Joe Ligon of First Baptist Church in Marlow. That image is of a mother or father, standing in a grocery store, trying to decide whether to buy food for their family or purchase their Christmas presents this year.
That was the idea for the inaugural Toy Store event that will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the First Baptist Church life center. The Toy Store will allow parents and children to “shop” the toy store for a toy for each child and not pay a dime.
The Toy Store was birthed from the success of the church’s previous events, being their gasoline and grocery buy-downs that were earlier in the year.
“We started talking to church members about this idea back in October,” Ligon said. “We discussed how we wanted to do this next and how it could work and started planning.”
Immediately, Ligon and members of the church started speaking to other churches and businesses in Marlow about being involved and contributing to the cause. Members of the Ministerial Alliance stepped up and have been donating time, money and services.
“For the first year we are doing this, we are surprised at how generous people are,” Ligon said. “I’ve heard of families taking their children shopping and buying toys to donate and teaching them about giving.”
The life center will be dressed up as if it were an actual toy store, with aisles and shelves dedicated to housing toys. Once the parents and/or kids have decided upon a toy, there will be gift wrapping available to wrap their presents and refreshments will be served, including coffee and hot chocolate.
“The community has stepped forward very quickly to help these children this year,” Debbe Ridley of the Marlow Chamber of Commerce, said. “There are lots of smart people running this event and they will have a lot of happy little kids that wouldn’t normally be.”
Ligon is unsure of the expected turnout for the Toy Shop but keeping in line with their previous events, the demand might exceed even his wildest expectations.
“We had over 700 families show up for our grocery buy-down event, that was more than three times the crowd we expected,” Ligon said. “If we get 600 toys, that will benefit 600 kids, we want to make sure every child gets something this Christmas.”
— Joshua Kellogg is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 142, or via e-mail at email@example.com.