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Operation Fill the Boat toy drive underway

Operation Fill the Boat in Granite Shoals

The police and fire departments in Granite Shoals are filling their boats with toys for local kids this Christmas. Leave new, unwrapped toys now through Dec. 4. Distribution is Dec. 18. Courtesy photo

Fill the boats with toys in Granite Shoals from now until Dec. 4. The Granite Shoals fire and police departments organize Operation Fill the Boat each year to collect toys and money for Christmas Outreach, a nonprofit, community-based organization that has been giving holiday gifts to families in need in Granite Shoals since 2002. 

Toys can be dropped off in each department’s boat: at the police station, 410 N. Phillips Ranch Road, and the fire station, 8410 RR 1431. The boats are monitored and emptied often to keep the Grinches away.

Christmas Outreach also has two upcoming fundraisers with the goal of raising enough money to include blankets this year along with the usual three toys per child and, another addition, two new books. 

“One thing we are doing different this year is giving out new books,” said Frances Lachance, who has been working with Christmas Outreach since 2004. “As a former librarian, I think it’s important kids have books. All our books are brand-new books.” 

The toys and other items are given to Granite Shoals children ages newborn to 15. 

“It’s important because, for these families, it’s the only Christmas these kids are going to get,” Lachance said. 

The first fundraiser is a barbecue from 11 a.m. until the food is gone Saturday, Nov. 13, at Grace United Methodist Church, 4007 Valley View Lane in Granite Shoals. 

Plates are $15 for brisket, sausage, potato salad, beans, condiments, and a cookie or brownie for dessert. Toy donations during the fundraiser are greatly appreciated. 

“This is the 10th year that (Granite Shoals Police) Sgt. John Ortis and Assistant Fire Chief Tim Campbell have been actively doing the cooking and everything,” Lachance said.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, local members of Ground Zero, a national car club, will hold a car show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Quarry Park, next to City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. Entry fees for vehicles and admission to the show are toys. Bring a new, unwrapped toy or $20 to fill the boats and help Christmas Outreach reach out and give kids in Granite Shoals a merry Christmas. 

For those who need toys for the holidays, the application process is underway. Applications are available at Highland Lakes Elementary School, 8200 RR 1431 in Granite Shoals; The Helping Center of Marble Falls, 1016 Broadway in Marble Falls; and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 1406 Resource Parkway in Marble Falls. 

A drive-through distribution is Dec. 18. 

“It touches our hearts,” Lachance said. “These kids wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise.” 

suzanne@thepicayune.com