Carbondale Christmas Store gives back to the community during COVID-19

By Janiyah Gaston, Staff Reporter

The Christmas Store is a drive put on by the Carbondale Police Department, that provides toys, coats and other items to kids in the Jackson County area every year around the holiday season. 

While the drive is mainly for toys and coats, clothes and shoes are also accepted. 

Susie Toliver, a crime victim advocate from the Carbondale Police Department, organizes the drive.

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“We provide gifts for 125 children who live in the Carbondale area,” Toliver said.

Due to COVID-19, adjustments have been made to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

“Typically SIU would collect coats for the drive at the basketball games but due to COVID, this is not possible which is why we are letting the community know where they can drop off coats to donate,” Toliver said. 

Toliver said this year’s drive will include families joining in through Zoom to see what items are going into their bags.

“Families will join via Zoom and will be able to see the gifts and coats. We will bag them up with the families’ names on them and they will pick them up at the police department,” Toliver said.

Even with the drive changing its look this year due to safety guidelines, other local organizations have still offered their help. 

University Baptist Church has agreed to take over the coat drive as items can no longer be collected at basketball games, Toliver said. The Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office is also providing candy bags for kids who do not receive shoes in their family’s bags. 

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According to Toliver families who have signed up will be given a day and time so they can begin shopping.

The drive ends Dec. 14 at 4 p.m.

Staff  reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected]

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