In November and December, two local businesses—Republic Services and OsteoStrong Chesterfield—collected new toys to help brighten the holidays for children served through Assistance League of St. Louis community programs.

ToyPhotoKathyStrongJust before Christmas, employees of these businesses delivered the toys to ALSTL Headquarters in Ellisville. They were greeted by members who volunteer in ALSTL’s Outreach Program, which serves families in transition or recovering from a crisis, and Project ROSE, which provides much-needed items to women and their children in domestic abuse shelters.

This year toys were given to children in the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s Students in Transition program. When ALSTL Outreach co-chair Diana Huey contacted Students in Transition social worker Janie Burse to ask for her help in distributing the toys, her “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes” response reflected her joy that she would be able to bring good news to many parents, but to one mom, in particular. This mother, knowing that she was unable to purchase any gifts for her children, planned to ask Santa to write them a letter saying he would not be able to deliver any toys to them this year. Imagine her happiness when she learned her children would never receive that letter! Huey explained that the toys were originally intended for another organization, then asked, “Do you believe in miracles? The fact that the toys came just in time to help this particular mom was indeed a Christmas miracle!”

ToyPhotoTrashThe other half of the toys were distributed through Project ROSE. Beth Yeck and Judy McKay, co-chairs of Project ROSE, shared Diana’s enthusiasm: “These wonderful toy drives made a lot of children happy in the shelters we support! We assembled gifts bags filled with donated items we’ve been collecting all fall for the women and divided the toys among the shelters we serve. Our liaison at the Kathy Weinman Shelter summed things up this way: ‘The families in shelter all had a wonderful holiday thanks to your donations!’”

ToyPhotoTreeAssistance League of St. Louis president Denise McKibben said, “We are so grateful to Chris Hankins and other Republic Services employees, who once again generously donated toys, and to our newest partner in the toy collection, OsteoStrong Chesterfield. Their toy drive, coordinated by owner Erin Greiner, engaged their clients and staff to donate toys for children who would otherwise not have had gifts this year. Through ROSE and Outreach, we were able to provide a hand-up to mothers, children and families in need of one-time assistance as they transition to new lives.”

ToyphotoJaneALSTL Public Relations Chair Jayne Foley added, “This is a perfect example of how community partnerships with businesses and other nonprofits increase the number of individuals whose lives we can positively impact. We so value these partnerships.”