Toys for Tots brings Christmas to Cass children

CASSOPOLIS — Since the 1990s, Toys for Tots has brought Christmas cheer to Cass County by providing toys and other frivolities for children who may not have otherwise received any. In 2018, Toys for Tots served more than 700 children from about 250 families in Cass County.

As contribution and awareness for the program continues to grow, the absence of major grocery store chains is felt less and less.

“Cass doesn’t have major corporation stores,” Danielle Phillips, a volunteer for Cass Toys for Tots, said. “It’s a challenge without a Walmart or Meijer. We just don’t get the toys they get.”

Having drop boxes and major local donors is helpful in many communities with Toys for Tots programs. The lack of those large outlets in Cass has not impeded the program’s success and reach within the county, however.

There are volunteers working in Cass year-round to make Toys for Tots successful in its goal. When Christmas comes around again, as in 2018, the toys are brought to one location for approved families to shop for their little ones. Saturday at Pleasant View Church of Christ was the day and location for Cass County families, and it was what Phillips described as organized, but beautiful chaos. Although the Cass County program operates fairly smoothly now, according to Phillips, getting the final event around takes a significant amount of work and patience. In the end, however, it’s all for the kids.

“So many people come through here who wouldn’t have gifts if weren’t for the program,” Phillips said.

Phillips and the rest of the Cass Toys for Tots organizers hope more families participate in the program in the future. The process is simple enough by filling out applications collected from either the local school or DHS and getting them processed prior to the collection event.

“We understand people fall on difficult times. We won’t turn anybody away,” Phillips said.

Likewise, Phillips hopes more volunteers, donors and sponsors will come forward to participate in the Cass program. In the last few years, volunteer help has increased, according to Phillips, but there is always more work to be done, and therefore more help needed. Funds to buy toys, places to drop toys and help setting up for the event are all opportunities to help the program, and the children, flourish.

As a native of Cassopolis married to a Dowagiac native, serving the local community’s less affluent children is important to Phillips and her family. For her it’s not just about giving children play things to distract them, but about showing them there is a community that cares about them and their happiness.

“We just try to help,” Phillips aid. “It’s our home community, and we love being a part of it.”

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles’ Reske takes home Cass County cat show title

Berrien County

Berrien County commissioners pass resolution supporting Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail project

Dowagiac

Dowagiac schools make masks optional for students, staff

Dowagiac

Ascension Borgess Lee Foundation golf outing raises $19,000

Cass County

Two injured in Howard Township crash

Cass County

Cass County Fair hosts Law Enforcement Day

Berrien County

Heroin, meth, firearms seized during search warrants in Niles, Buchanan

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles teen takes home three first place wins in Cass County Fair youth horse, pony show

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac Police Department hosts National Night Out event

Berrien County

Junior Achievement of Berrien, Cass counties announces Tapas on the Green event

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: NTPA Tractor Pull wows crowd at Cass County Fair

News

Niles Riverfest begins Thursday

Cass County

Cass County Conservation district announces 2020 awards

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation awards $75,000 in scholarships, grants

Giving

Niles church nearing fundraising goal for new community playground

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 906,538 cases, 19,947 deaths

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac’s Stockwell named champion swine showman at Cass County Fair

Berrien County

Registration now open for Lory’s Place Run, Walk, and Rock

Berrien County

BCF Arts Challenge seeking support for Berrien County arts venues

Berrien County

Community members encouraged to donate blood, save lives

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 28-Aug. 2

News

Niles Township reconsiders document scanning project, rescinds special meeting vote

Giving

Niles church to host Family Fun Fest Saturday

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles’ Tharp wins Cass County Youth Dairy Show