BATAVIA – Roy Bailey, organizer of the Batavia ACCESS Committee’s annual toy drive, is a little worried because he’s well short of the number of toys needed to fulfill the wishes of the 675 children on his list this year.
But he has faith the community will support the endeavor and that every single child in need in Batavia will receive a toy for Christmas.
Bailey, 62, has faith because his mother had faith in the toy drive. His mother, Mildred, ran the toy drive for 30 years with two other people before she passed away two years ago and Bailey took control.
The toy distribution is Sunday, and he recalls when his mother was running the toy drive how entire tables where people would choose toys from would still be empty on the Thursday before. Bailey’s mother would tell him, “Don’t worry. The toys will be there.”
When the time came to distribute the toys, the toys were miraculously there. Bailey asked his mother where they came from.
“The Lord sent them,” she replied.
Although wanting to believe in a Christmas miracle, toy drive volunteer Rudy Dubis figured someone physically brought the toys. But he never discovered who it was.
“We never did get an answer,” Dubis said.
Bailey is hoping for another miracle this year.
“This has probably been the worst year for donations,” Bailey said.
He blames continuing economic woes for families. Clubs that used to provide money don’t exist anymore, and some corporations no longer donate.
“I know we’re going to make it this year,” Bailey told the Batavia City Council on Monday.
Bailey told the council that toy drive organizers mostly need toys, games, books, puzzles, hats and gloves for children ages 10 to 15.
“That’s where we could really use some help,” Bailey said.
Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke offered his own theory about why donations were falling short. He blames it on the weather. Schielke said a woman called him about wanting to contribute to the toy drive and had almost forgot about it.
He said she wasn’t in the Christmas spirit yet because of the unseasonably warm temperatures in the beginning of December.
Still, Schielke said it was important for Batavia residents to support the toy drive.
“The list seems to grow larger every year,” Schielke said. “... We’re here to try and take care of our very own.”
The last day to donate toys is Friday, and the toys will be distributed Sunday at the Christmas Toy Store in downtown Batavia. Organizers typically have no shortage of volunteers during the distribution.