By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — And they are off!
The 2012 Toy Challenge, the competition that will produce many winners this holiday season, kicked off Friday at a gathering of local business representatives and charity organizations.
The challenge, which started last year to benefit the Community Action of Orleans County’s annual toy drive, has expanded to nine businesses and covers the entire county by supporting the Medina Area Association of Church’s efforts to provide Christmas gifts for children who otherwise may not have them.
At Friday’s planning meeting, the focus what much more on how to provide for an increasing need than the competitive aspect of the challenge. According to Community Action of Orleans County Director of Community Services Annette Finch, more than 1,000 children will benefit from the joint effort this year.
”We can see the smiles on the children’s faces and the happiness in the parents that they can provide a Christmas for their families,” Finch said.
Nine local factories will vie to see who can collect the most, adjusted by the size of the business — so that Phinney Tool and Die, whose three dozen employees won last year, can compete with larger companies like Baxter Healthcare.
The end result of the competition, which ends on Dec. 7 this year, is the astounding amount of giving that the combined effort produces.
”When we went to the church basement, it brought tears to my eyes to see rows and rows of toys,” Carolyn Wagner, BMP America’s Human Resources Manager, said.
Most of all, the challenge is to overwhelm community agencies with support in a trying time of the year.
”We care about the greater good of the community,” Worthing Quality Manager Andrew Szatkowski said.
To that end, other groups, like the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Medina Business Association and the Albion Merchants Association will join in.
”We want to increase the number of toys (going to families),” Chamber interim Director Kathy Blackburn said.
Charity intakes scheduled (chapter head)
Intakes are scheduled throughout the coming weeks at both Community Actions sites in Albion and Holley; at various locations in the Medina area; and in Lyndonville and Kendall for families and individuals in need of holiday baskets.
For residents of zip codes 14411, 14477 and 14571, intakes are from 9 a.m. to noon today, Tuesday and Wednesday at Community Action in Albion. Applications will be accepted at the Eastern Orleans Community Center for those with zip codes of 14470 and 144429 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Medina, applications will be accepted from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at Medina United Methodist Church, from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 13 at Cavalry Tabernacle Church, from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Clothing Depot, from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 14 at Ricky Place, from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 19 at the Clothing Depot and from 9 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Clothing Depot. Please contact Joanne at 798-1224 with questions.
For zipcode 14098, please contact the Lyndonville Presbyterian Church at 765-2838 or the Lyndonville United Methodist Church at 765-9313 for details.
In the Kendall School district, the deadline for Thanksgiving food boxes is Nov. 7, with the deadline for Christmas food boxes on Nov. 21. Please call 659-4073 for details.
Intakes require applicants to provide proof of household size, proof of residence and proof of income. The income guidelines for the program is a gross yearly income of $13,962.50 for a one-person family, with an additional $4,950 for each additional person in a family.
For more information, contact Community Action of Orleans County at 589-5605.