Santa’s elves visit South Shore |

Santa’s elves visit South Shore

Greg Risling

If you want to find the spirit of Christmas, take a look at the glimmer in children’s eyes.

They wrinkle their noses and have smiles as wide as the moon. Their faces are aglow, eager with anticipation that their wishes will come true.

Christmas is a stressful time for some families because they can’t put every coveted present under the tree.

On Thursday and Friday, a group of Santa’s elves offered a truck full of toys to Tahoe’s families.

From bikers to Marines, several groups chipped in to the annual toy drive sponsored by the Tahoe Toy Connection. There were stuffed animals, board games and handmade wool caps for families to choose from.

The organizers spent six weeks gathering the donations from strategically placed barrels in Tahoe. A conservative estimate of 5,000 new and used toys were placed out at the Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church. More than 500 families took advantage of the gifts left by generous souls.

“If it wasn’t for the toy drive, there would be a lot of families who wouldn’t have much under the tree,” said Monique McIntyre, who has volunteered the last seven years. “Different businesses have helped us out and we’re thankful that this has come together.”

While kids waited outside – they weren’t allowed to see the goods – parents had the chance to choose two used toys per child, one brand new toy, and a knit cap – plus all the stuffed animals they wanted. Families wheeled out bicycles and took home jackets. Seven-year-old Brittany stood impatiently outdoors while her dad selected some gifts.

“Mmmm … I want a couple of teddy bears and maybe some games my sister and I can play with,” she said. “Christmas is so fun because you don’t know what you’re going to get.”

Families had to sign up prior to the distribution dates but the unlucky ones who didn’t will have one more opportunity Today at Christmas Cheer’s headquarters on Park Avenue. Toys and food baskets will be available to those who need them.

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