‘Overwhelming’ Community Response In Sonora After Toys Stolen From Event
Toys piled at Mother Lode Fairgrounds
Sonora, CA — There has been a continuous flow of community members passing through the Mother Lode Fairgrounds over the past 24 hours to bring Christmas cheer to the many local kids in Tuolumne County in need this season.
We reported yesterday that 40 containers filled with toys that were going to be given to children at the annual Christmas Eve Dinner in Sonora were stolen from a storage facility in the county. Event organizer Cathie Peacock reached out to Clarke Broadcasting to ask that a message be put out to the community requesting last-minute toy donations, and a Santa costume ( because it was also stolen).
The community in turn responded big, and yesterday’s story quickly went viral. Peacock says they received calls from people who reside as far away as Michigan and Arizona, who have local connections, and wanted to donate either money or items. There have also been many businesses, non-profits, elected officials, and individual local residents, with big hearts, who have stepped up to make this a memorable event for the kids.
“It has been an overwhelming and huge response,” says Peacock. “We are almost more stunned by the response than we were to find the toys missing. I can’t put into words how generous this community is, but I know it, and I can really feel it. It is one of the reasons why I really love living here.”
Peacock adds that they even had 12 Santa costumes offered.
She said it is difficult to estimate how many toys have been received, but as of the nine o’clock hour this morning, they had already filled a 26 feet long U-Haul style truck with items, and have rows upon rows piled on tables at the fairgrounds.
At this point, Peacock says they are in “good shape” to deliver enough toys to the estimated 900 or so kids who will benefit on Saturday. Because of the response, she says this year instead of giving out 1-2 toys per child, it will likely be closer to 3-4. Gifts have ranged from dolls to legos, bikes, skateboards, and just about everything in between.
Organizers will be at the fairgrounds until around 5pm today (Friday), continuing to collect last-minute donations.
Saturday’s free Community Christmas Eve Dinner starts at noon at the fairgrounds.
Click on the image box to view some photos from the toy collection.