January 18, 2022

Toys for Tots event sells presents, aids charity

Giving and receiving

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Angela Sorensen, of Ithaca, left, helps Kim Elster, of Groton, and her children Alysse, 8, foreground, and Brooke, 14, during a holiday craft fair Saturday at the Homer Elks Lodge

HOMER — If somebody needed a last-minute Christmas present and wanted to help a charity give toys to kids, Santa’s Last Chance would be the place.

A craft show to benefit Toys for Tots, titled Santa’s Last Chance, took place at the Homer Elk’s Lodge on Saturday. It was one of the last local craft shows before Christmas, and gave people one more chance to get a homemade gift before the holiday.

Each of the more than 40 vendors paid a $20 in table fee that goes to the local Toys for Tots charity that collects unwrapped toys and gives them to children.

The organization expects to provide Christmas presents to about 1,300 children in Cortland County this year.

An auction also took place, with prizes like a Lego set, a winter Barbie doll, a model plane and a toy truck.

Terri Vantine of Cortland, the show organizer and one of its vendors, said that every craft show she has is a benefit, with the goal for this fair to raise $1,000 for Toys for Tots.

“This time of year, everybody wants to give back,” Vantine said. “Some (toys from Toys for Tots) are the only toys they get.”

Vantine sold homemade Christmas decorations with her parents, Earl and Sue Pimm. They made angels of old light fixtures, lighted wine bottles and created snowmen out of dishes and socks.

Other vendors sold similar decorations, along with knitted winter clothes, jewelry, soaps and food items.

Krysta Austen of Cortland and her daughter, Kallie, looked for stocking stuffers. Kallie, 1, clung close to a bag with M&Ms she wants to give to her brothers and sisters.

“It’s something fun to do when it’s cold,” Krysta said.

“I’m looking just for myself,” said Cathie Kaltenbash of Truxton as she examined a jewelry display, then knitted items. “I got all my shopping done. I might see a last minute gift idea.”

Rhonda Moore of Cortland sold bread and dip mixes. She has done a few other craft shows over the course of the season and had been involved with Toys for Tots fundraisers before.

“I’ve done a Poker Run before,” Moore said, which is a ride where participants stop by checkpoints to pick up cards and try to have the best poker hand by the end of the run, “where we took toys up to Syracuse.”

Weldena Jenney of Blodgett Mills and her daughter Peggy sold crafts at tables side by side. Weldena sold decorative towels while Peggy sold woodworked signs and miniature houses.