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Toys For Tots gets surprise donation up; Organization steps with a truckload of toys

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The Lindsey Callaway Memorial Toy Drive organization comes to the aid of the Toys For Tots drive. Tracy Callaway, left, and her daughter, Jessie Orr Callaway, far right, are helping Ron McKay of the Marine Corps League Sgt. Moses D. Rocha Detachment No. 1287, to fill Toys For Tots boxes with new toys from the Lindsey Callaway Memorial Toy Drive to be distributed to children on Dec. 16 at the Roswell Mall. (Christina Stock Photo)

The Toys For Tots Drive, sponsored by the local Marine Corps League Moses D. Rocha Detachment No. 1287, got a pleasant surprise this year. Rick Callaway of the Lindsey Callaway Toy Drive called Jim Bloodheart, Chaves County Toys For Tots coordinator, with the promise of a donation.

When the truck with the big cargo trailer pulled up at the Roswell Mall on Tuesday, Jim Bloodheart, Alan Hartwell and Ron McKay of the Marine Corps League were waiting to help unload.

“Rick said he had a few toys for us,” Bloodheart said. “They shocked us with all the presents they are donating to Toys For Tots. We were behind and this is a great relief for me and the children. That’s what it’s all about, it’s the kids. The Lindsay Callaway Memorial Toy Drive took a lot of that stress out of me.”

The Lindsey Callaway Memorial Toy Drive started in 2001, in memory of Rick and Tracy Callaway’s daughter who had lost her battle with cancer at age 16. To honor her, the Callaways and their younger daughter, Jessie Cox Callaway, started the drive to provide toys for the children at Covenant Children’s Hospital in Lubbock, Texas, where Lindsey Callaway had been a patient.

Asked why the Callaways chose to help the Toys For Tots drive this year, Rick Callaway said, “We still donate to the hospital every year. In fact, we have a big donation coming next week, but we were so excited, we see how the Toys For Tots do so much for the Pecos Valley — that’s where Lindsey came from.

“Jessie, Lindsey’s younger sister, she is now a pediatric nurse and she has been since she got out of college,” Rick Callaway said. “She is now dedicating her life to the kids, just like Lindsey was taken care of when she was in the hospital. This year, the Lindsey Callaway Toy Drive is right at under $500,000 worth of toys given to the hospital in the last 17 years.

“We got about $3,000 worth of toys that we wanted to donate to the Toys For Tots that will go to children in this area,” Rick Callaway said.

This weekend is the last chance for parents or legal guardians to sign up their children at the Toys For Tots pickups.

“It is going to be the last weekend on paper,” Bloodheart said. “They can do it online until Dec. 14. We are going to distribute on Dec. 16 (at the Roswell Mall) and we have to do a lot of paperwork to get ready.”

The toy pickups for the Toys For Tots Drive are on Saturday and Sunday at K-mart from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Walmart on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 575-347-1625 or visit toysfortots.org and navigate to Find Your Local Toys For Tots Program and follow the links to Chaves County.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.