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Efforts begin for Christmas toy programs

Fill the Boat toy drive in Granite Shoals

The Granite Shoals Police Department launched its annual Fill the Boat! toy drive with all donations going to Christmas Outreach, which ensures children in need receive presents for Christmas. Courtesy photo

Two local organizations that work to ensure every child wakes up to presents on Christmas morning are taking applications from families in need.

Parents can pick up applications for Highland Lakes Christmas is for Kids and Christmas Outreach at the Department of Heath and Human Services, 1406 Resource Parkway in Marble Falls, and The Helping Center of Marble Falls, 1315 Broadway. Granite Shoals residents also can get an application at Highland Lakes Elementary School, 8200 RR 1431 West in Granite Shoals. 

Highland Lakes Christmas is for Kids provides presents for families in the Marble Falls and southern Burnet County area, while Christmas Outreach focuses on Granite Shoals

While the deadlines to turn in applications are Dec. 12 for Christmas Outreach and Dec. 15 for Christmas is for Kids, organizers are encouraging families to return the paper work well ahead of those dates.

“We are urgently requesting forms be filled out as soon as possible,” said Robben Thompson of Highland Lakes Christmas is for Kids. “Because if any of those places have to shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’ll be virtually impossible to return applications.”

Because of the pandemic, organizers are anticipating an increase in the number of families needing assistance this year.

“A lot of people in the service industry are out of jobs,” said Frances Lachance of Christmas Outreach. 

To help raise money, Christmas Outreach is hosting its annual barbecue plates fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at Grace United Methodist Church, 4007 Valley View Lane in Granite Shoals. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the event. The Granite Shoals Police Officers Association also is raffling off a brisket. Tickets are $5 each or $20 for five.

Lachance will be selling tickets at the Granite Shoals Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Quarry Park, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road in Granite Shoals. 

In addition, both the Granite Shoals Police Department, 410 N. Phillips Ranch Road, and the Granite Shoals Fire Department, 8410 RR 1431 West, have started their Fill the Boat! toy drives. Simply stop by one of the stations and put your donated item in the boat. Cameras monitor activity 24 hours a day to discourage Grinches.

The Granite Shoals Police Officers Association will have its boat at the Farmers Market on Saturday, too.

Highland Lakes Christmas is for Kids raises money through a mail campaign. 

All items are age and gender appropriate. 

Thompson said families with a baby will also receive a “super diaper bag” filled to meet everyday needs.