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Toy Drive grows into 12 Days of Christmas holiday event

What sprouted almost 20 years ago from the Toys for Tots program has grown into a shining community wide example of Christmas giving in Excelsior Springs. That spirit comes in the form of the annual Toy Drive inspired by Mike Anderson and Chuck Anderson Ford which now includes the combined efforts of Kent McAfee and Westfall O’Dell Motors and Ruth Espeland and Jesse James Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

“I knew when we started collecting toys for the children 20 years ago that we wanted those toys to stay local,” recalled Anderson. “That’s why we branched off of the Toys For Tots and created our own toy drive. Today, I’m proud to partner with Kent McAfee, Ruth Espeland and the big car dealerships of Excelsior Springs to collect even more toys for our children.”

The program is now part of the 12 Days of Christmas and launches Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. The “Big Three” Excelsior Springs dealerships will each have a truck on their showroom floors ready to receive toy donations from local residents and supporters. In addition to these collection points, businesses across the community have agreed to host a day of toy collecting. Three trucks representing the three dealerships will be parked at the participating business from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., ready to receive donations of toys, food, hats, gloves, coats and scarves. It is asked that these donations be new clothing items and unopened toys and not used or opened items.

Six businesses and organizations have already committed to the 12 Days of Christmas event, running Monday through Saturday for two weeks. Six days are still available for businesses who would like to participate in the toy drive.

Launching the 12 days will be Anytime Fitness of Excelsior Springs on Monday, Dec. 2. Anyone who brings in a toy that day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will receive half off their enrollment fee and one free month of membership. Also, for every enrollment received during the 12 Days event, Anytime Fitness will donate half of those fees to the Salvation Army to help Excelsior Springs children.

Day two will be hosted by John’s Super of Excelsior Springs on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Day three will be hosted by Price Chopper of Excelsior Springs on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Day four will be hosted by the Excelsior Springs Job Corps on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Day five will be hosted by the Excelsior Springs High School on Friday, Dec. 6.

Day six will be hosted by the Elms Hotel on Saturday, Dec. 7. The high school and the Elms are holding their events in conjunction with the Mineral Water Bowl activities that weekend.

High school students will be competing for a pizza party from Little Caesars that will be awarded to the class that collects the most toys.

The Standard will be following this event daily and will provide updates in future issues of the newspaper.

If you would like to contribute to the toy drive or join in the cause as host to one of the remaining six days, contact any of the three car dealerships: Chuck Anderson Ford at 816-630-1700, Westfall O’Dell Motors at 816-630-3151 or Jesse James Chrysler at 816-630-2200,  or Phillip Powers with the Salvation Army at 816-630-4155 or 816-560-8748.

By Brian Rice • brian@leaderpress.com

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