Sandyville Seniors keeping giving spirit alive during COVID-19

Barbara Layton
The Sandyville Senior Center supports the local Toys-for-Tots program each year. Pictured from left to right are Janice Anderson, Cindy Burke (holding her grandson Gavin), Joyce Thompson, Jackson County EMS director Troy Bain, Shawn Mckenna, and Jackson County Commissioner Mitch Morrison.

The Sandyville Senior Center has become well known for its annual auction in December that raises money and collects toys for the local Toys-for-Tots program. Through the auctioneering talents of Cooper’s Auction Services LLC and wonderful merchandisers, such as Ron Price and Rhonda Barnette, as well as giving citizens of the Jackson County community, thousands of dollars in toys are provided to the program each year.

In conjunction with the Jackson County EMS “Fill My Ambulance” toy drive, the collected toys are loaded into an ambulance and delivered to the local Rotary Club who then dispenses the items to Jackson County children through the Ripley Rotary’s Adopt-A-Family program.

With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 auction had to be cancelled; however, that hasn’t stopped the Sandyville Seniors from continuing their efforts to raise money and purchase toys for the Toys-for-Tots program. Through individuals, businesses, and community donations, the Sandyville Seniors are working hard to keep the tradition alive.

On Monday, Oct. 26, the first ambulance was filled with over $1,000 in toys that were purchased with funds collected from the following donors: Jackson County Commissioner Mitch Morrison, Wildlife Removal Services Inc., Braley Investments, Roof Pros, Noel Braley for Sheriff, Jesse Workman, Robert Cadle, Tami Hunter, Rhonda Barnette, Sandy Enoch, Seldon Angus, Fanny Hascue, Dottie Morgan, Jean Baldwin, Herman McCauley, Bernice Weaver, Barbara Miles, Janice Anderson, Joyce Thompson, Phil Southall, and Sidney Smith.

According to Cindy Burke, senior activities director at the Sandyville Senior Center, an additional $400 has since been collected and soon another ambulance will be filled with another $1,000 in toys.

“We were really worried that we were not going to be able to help as many children this year due to the pandemic,” EMS worker Shawn Mckenna said. “The Sandyville Seniors are wonderful, we couldn’t do this without them.”

Donation jars for the Sandyville Senior Center Toys-for-Tots drive are located at Cookie’s Hair Gallery & Tanning located at 223 Church Street South in Ripley and at Rhonda Barnette’s shop on Academy Drive in Ripley. For additional information, contact the Sandyville Senior Center at 304-273-2880.