FBC to host annual Toy Store after parade

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Nov 29, 2012 - 11:33:35 AM

STACKING UPFirst Baptist Church of Marlow felt the need to reach out to the community three years ago. Ideas were brought forward. Three of which are quickly becoming community traditions.
“We saw a great need and an incredible opportunity to meet those needs,” Pastor Joe Ligon said. “We began to think about what we could do.”
First came the gas buy-down then the grocery buy-down. The next idea coming to fruition was having a toy store.
“We had done the grocery buy-down in October and we had been hosting the community Thanksgiving for several years, so we had that covered,” said pastor Joe Ligon. “The next natural thing was Christmas, and since we are a church, we obviously celebrate the birth of Christ.”
The church saw a need to relieve financial burdens on parents and the church has steadily been learning how many needs are out there.
“Part of the progression we have seen since we started these community services is we are getting better at what we are trying to do,” Ligon said with a smile. “One thing we have learned is the needs are not decreasing. In fact, they are increasing and that increases our responsibility to help.”
People from both the church and the community have been dropping off gifts in preparation for this Saturday’s giveaway at the church’s LIFE Center.
“The Ministerial Alliance gets involved. So this really is a Marlow Christian community thing,” said Ligon. “I tell our church that every child deserves to have one toy at Christmas. The people of the church have been incredibly generous.”
And there is a “secret Santa” who has given a large number of gifts every year since the toy store began. This year is no different.
“We do have an anonymous benefactor,” Ligon said. “I don’t know who it is or where they are even from. It is a completely blind donation. They are incredibly generous to the toy store,” said Ligon. GENEROUS DONATION
The gifts are all brand new, in-the-box, toys.
The majority of the gifts are geared toward children of pre-school age through the sixth or seventh grade though some are for older children.
The LIFE Center will be closed Friday at noon as workers prepare for the Saturday giveaway. The toys will be set on tables with signs indicating the age range of the toys.
“We try to make it as much like a store shopping experience as possible,” Ligon said. “A parent may pick up one toy and then walk down the row and see something they think their child will like better and set the first one down to pick up the second.”
Everything usually goes smoothly. Only so many people are allowed in at a time.
“It’s not like a Black Friday,” Ligon laughed. “We’ve never had anybody get trampled.”
While the Marlow area is the obvious focal point of the toy store, Ligon said he is amazed how many people come from other places.
“We never limit it to just our immediate community and I’m counting Central High and Bray with that,” Ligon said. “We just don’t have people come from places like Duncan and Rush Springs, but we get people from Comanche, Cyril, Lawton, and Sterling as well. People come a long way in order to take advantage of the toy store.”
The event begins immediately following the Marlow Christmas Parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.