Christmas comes early to Baumholder children
November 9, 2011
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Christmas came exactly two months early this year for hundreds of Baumholder children when on Oct. 25 the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Child, Youth and School Services teamed up to hand out free toys to children.
"The toys were donated by the Toy Industry Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. We have close to 3,000 toys worth almost $34,000. They are all separated in conjunction with CYSS's help and FMWR and the 170th IBCT. We're here to bring some smiles to some kids' faces here on Baumholder," said Rachel Dooley, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team family readiness support assistant.
Hundreds of children passed through the Hall of Champions from 3-8 p.m. to collect their free toy. The toys were separated into six different age groups and parents preregistered their children through their unit. Families had a set time to collect their free toys according to their unit affiliation.
Tonada Allen, a family member from CompanyA, 24th Brigade Support Battalion, who has five children, was grateful for the donation from the Toy Industry Foundation. "It's a blessing actually. We have five kids, my husband and I, and they are excited to be here today. My oldest is 14, and I have another son who's 11. And then I have another son, he's 4, and I have two girls who are 7 and 8," said Allen. "So these toys are a blessing. I appreciate it."
Dooley explained how Baumholder acquired the more than 3,000 toys.
"The Toy Industry Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America were holding an event in Ramstein. Debra Hathaway, with CYSS, was able to procure additional toys for Baumholder, and we brought them up here. It was kind of a lucky donation from them," she said.
Sgt. 1st Class Santos Rosado, from 24th Brigade Support Battalion who is currently working in 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team S3 office, said, "It's pretty good, actually, for the family members. I've been here four years and it's the first time I have seen it in Baumholder. I have seen it done at other posts and it's actually pretty good for family members who don't have that much income. It brings morale for the kids too,"
His daughter Keila who had just collected some playing cards, puzzles and some games was glad that Christmas came early, saying, "I'm happy about that."
As the first group of children made their way from table to table searching for their free gift, Dooley said, "We're probably going to give away close to most of them today and whatever we have left over we will use at the tree lighting ceremony for the kids. That way nobody misses out."
Jill Collier, a family member from 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery, and mother of three said, "I think it's wonderful, and it's really nice that they're doing this for the kids. This is the first time that they've offered anything like this." Her daughter Chelsey, clearly delighted, stood speechless at her side, clutching a box with her new toy in it.