Unicorn Fund collects toys for needy children in Scott County

Unicorn Fund collects toys for needy children in Scott County

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The Unicorn Fund has been helping area families for 26 years through the annual toy drive as well as scholarships. The Unicorn Fund has been helping area families for 26 years through the annual toy drive as well as scholarships.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

ONEIDA (WATE) - Needy families in Scott County are getting a little help this Christmas season.

The Unicorn Fund provides toys for children in the county whose parents may not otherwise be able to afford them.

The fund has been helping area families for 26 years through the annual toy drive as well as scholarships.

Unicorn Fund board members say in the past few years they have seen an increasing number of families looking for extra help making sure their kids enjoy the holiday season.

Christmas is just around the corner, and in Scott County, which has the state's highest unemployment rate, Santa's helpers are already at work.

"We combine all of our resources, our toys and things, and we allow the folks, the parents to come by, and they go in and pick out a couple of gifts for each of their children. We do all children, even if they're 18, if they're still in school," said Unicorn Fund Vice Chair Verhonda Hembree.

The Unicorn Fund provides families in need with toys for their children at Christmas.

The program has helped more and more people over the past few years.

"With our unemployment rate being so high and things. We serviced 600 families, 1500 children just last year in Scott County," Hembree added.

Many families who once needed the help now volunteer their time or buy toys for the program.

"I didn't know how I was going to do my kids Christmas and everything. Someone told me about her and I came out and talked to her and she gave me gifts for my kids, Then the next year come up and I asked her if I could volunteer my time to take and help her give out the gifts for the kids," said volunteer Barbara Riseden.

"When I went down and seen how they were giving out the gifts and things, when she got old enough to be left with her dad, I went down and I started wrapping and gifting too, to give back that way because I didn't have money," explained volunteer Chris Sexton.

In some cases, it even becomes a family tradition to help distribute the gifts at the Boys and Girls Club.

"Well, we want to go, and so I took them down with me and did it for, well they're 20 and 23 now, so they started when they were about seven and probably five," Sexton added.

Distribution is scheduled for Dec. 15 at the Scott County Boys and Girls Club.

Parents don't have to pre-register to pick up gifts for their kids through the program, they just need a food stamp card and a driver's license or other photo ID.

Unicorn Fund is still looking for volunteers to help parents select toys on distribution day and wrap them.

Anyone interested in signing up can call Verhonda Hembree at the Unicorn Fund at 423-663-2821 ext. 112.

More information is available in the Unicorn Fund's volunteer information sheet.

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