By Logan Elders
The Batavia toy drive is short on toys because of roof leakage.
It was a sad day for Batavia toy drive co-chairmen Roy Bailey Jr. and co-leader Rudy Dubis when they found a roof leak at the city-owned former First Baptist Church where many of the toys were being stored. Most toys did not survive the water damage and mold, so they had to be thrown away.
“This year we are in trouble. We are in deep trouble,” Bailey told the Daily Herald.
As the deadline of Sun., Dec. 11 is getting closer with each passing day, the Batavia toy drive needs as much help as they can get to make sure the 236 families signed up have a Merry Christmas.
All hope is not lost, though. Volunteers like Mr. Holm, a teacher and coach at Batavia High School, and several others have stepped up to the plate and are prepared to do what it takes to make sure there are enough toys for everyone this year.
“I saw the need that Mr. Bailey expressed, and I personally recall people I know struggling, but still trying to make sure their kids had a Merry Christmas,” Holm said.
The toy drive is only the tip of the iceberg. Poverty in Batavia is a big issue that needs to be addressed, as well. According to City-Data.com, 7.6 percent of children in Batavia are below the poverty line. This means that almost one tenth of all children in Batavia are a part of families who don’t have enough money to provide them with necessary items like food and water, let alone Christmas presents. That’s why the toy drive means so much to the families who aren’t fortunate enough to have Santa visit their children this season.
“A toy can allow you to put those hard times out of your mind for a while. The drive also allows families to not have to worry about trying to find gifts for their kids when they are trying to put food on the table,” Holm said.
At this time of the year, helping the toy drive is a way to interact with the community. It also allows people to see what someone might not notice or be aware of when it comes to the number of people in need.
“I’m confident Batavia will rise to the occasion,” said Mayor Jeff Schielke to the Daily Herald.
If any students are interested in helping the toy drive, they can drop off toys in room C112 or at the firestation and police station. Students can also help on “shopping day” at the old Walgreens on Dec. 11. Any further questions can be answered by Mr. Holm.
“Let’s see if we can break last year’s record of 347 items,” Holm said.