Toy collections

This toy collection box at the Woodward County Courthouse is one of several located in the community. (Photo provided)

“One small kindness left a mark for a lifetime - until the day I leave this earth.”

- Glenda Deviney.

Each year the Woodward County Toy Giveaway benefits hundreds of area families, providing Christmas gifts that they may have otherwise had to do without.

Linda Freeman was one of many children that benefited from the Toy Giveaway over the years. Looking back, she is grateful for more than just the toys she received.

“When you go back to school, the kids are talking about the cool stuff they got for Christmas and you want to be part of that conversation,” Freeman said. “Without the Toy Giveaway, I wouldn’t have been a part of that at all because anything that was not a necessity came from the Toy Giveaway.”

Freeman recalls growing up and the excitement that came along with the letter each year, but the excitement or impact of that letter isn’t limited to the children in the family.

One year, Christmas found single mother Glenda Deviney in a difficult financial situation. Receiving a letter inviting her to the giveaway came as a relief knowing her kids would get to open something Christmas morning.

“I got this little letter and I thought, ‘well that’s pretty amazing’,” Deviney said. “My kids were so young. No mom wants to see their kids do without. Even if it’s just one toy.”

Deviney was apprehensive upon arrival, but the volunteers at the giveaway were helpful and kind.

“They just do such a wonderful job at walking you through it, whether it’s your first time or if you’ve been out there before,” Deviney said.

Though Deviney only attended the giveaway once, it impacted her life from then on.

“I was so grateful for getting me through that one year, or my kids wouldn’t have had a Christmas, at all, period,” Deviney said. “From that point on, from the very next year on, then I went out to help.”

Deviney has continued to volunteer at the giveaway through the Ambucs for years. Freeman too has made it her mission to give back to her community as much as she can.

“It really does touch the lives of those people that they’re doing it for and it is nice,” Freeman said. “Because of that and people like Dave and Paula (Hughes), they’re the reason why you want to grow up to be somebody that can also do that kind of stuff for other people.”

Deviney wants all families to remember if they receive that letter, use it.

“There is no shame in getting that letter,” Deviney said. “If you got a letter, you go use it. That is a blessing to you. I would encourage everybody that got a letter to use it. That’s why there are people who donate, people who give, because we want to bless your children. And it has nothing to do with you not being able to provide for your child.”

The Toy Giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 12 this year at the Woodward Conference Center and volunteers will be setting things up all day on the 11th. There are donation boxes set up in businesses around town to collect donated toys and volunteers are always appreciated. Boxes can be found at Atwood’s, Walmart, Woodward County Courthouse, Peak Fitness, and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

For more information contact Dave Hughes at 580-254-0360 or Jim Bradford at 580-334-8726.

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