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Christmas ‘spirit’ comes to call in Crawford

English had a visitor on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Maybe it was Santa Claus, or maybe it was an angel. But either way, the needy children of Crawford County had a hallmark Christmas.
It all began on Dec. 12, when Sharon Wilson got a call at the tourism office from a woman in Indianapolis. She told Wilson that she had some toys that she wanted to donate to Crawford County children and needed to know where she should take them. Wilson gave the woman the phone number for the Dept. of Child Services and Division of Family Resources in English.
The woman, let’s call her Miss Anne ‘ she insisted on remaining anonymous ‘ called the center and asked if she could bring toys there to be distributed to needy children. The staff assured her that they would do that, and they agreed that she could bring the toys there.
On Tuesday, Dec. 19, the toys were delivered, not by ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ but by an orange ‘U-haul the Big-ol’ Truck.’
‘We couldn’t believe it,’ said Cheryl Allen, who works at the center. ‘We were expecting a couple of bags of toys, not anything like what she brought.’
The truck, parked near the door of the center, was opened to reveal a full load of toys. When they were finally all unloaded, there were three offices full of toys of every description. There were guitars, complete with electronic tuners, chord books and carrying cases. There were karaoke machines, personal CD players, kitchen sets complete with table and chairs and dishes, and Tonka trucks. There were rocking horses, all kinds of dolls, games, toys for toddlers and several bats. Each bat came with a ball and glove. Anything that required batteries had the batteries taped to the tops of the boxes. Some toys were taped together, meant to go to one child. Some were in bags for the same reason.
‘We could tell that the lady thought it out really well,’ said Amy Smith, family case manager at the center. ‘She gave us all a hug, got back in the truck and drove off. We looked at all those toys and thought, ‘Wow, where do we start?”
But they started, and by Friday, most of the toys were matched up to a deserving child somewhere in the county.
‘It just makes my heart feel good,’ said Miss Anne, in a phone interview on Thursday. ‘I’m certainly not a rich person. My husband and I are working people. But I do this every three years. I took toys to Shelby County three years ago. But this time, I got on the Internet and found that Crawford County was one of the poorest in the state. So I decided to take the toys there.’
Miss Anne does all the shopping herself. Some of the toys are from catalogs, and some are ordered over the Internet. She shops at Target and K-Mart, and chooses toys and accessories that she thinks a child would like.
‘I didn’t always have a big Christmas when I was a child,’ she said. ‘So I know what it’s like to feel left out. I believe that every child should know at least a little material prosperity. That’s why I buy nice toys. Poor children should have nice toys at Christmas just like rich children. And people need to realize that there are families with children in Southern Indiana who are hurting. Helping some of them, well, that’s our Christmas. And I don’t really want any recognition for anything. It’s not about me. It’s about those children.’
So, Santa Claus is indeed real. There may be more than one, and they may come in a truck, without a red suit. But they come with a heart of gold.
‘This makes you have faith in mankind,’ said Herb Gordon, director of the Dept. of Child Services.