MASON COUNTY — For the second Christmas running, Mason County youth will benefit from an influx of toys and games from the Greenbrier.
The Greenbrier, a resort located in the southeastern part of West Virginia, donates toys to organizations all over the state through its program “Create a Dream Tree for Kids” — purchasing around $1 million worth of toys.
Greg Fowler, director of the Mason County branch of the Family Resource Network (FRN) said that this year the resort has exceeded by 50 his request for 800 gifts. He is planning to complete the pick-up next Monday, after which he’ll begin to arrange the distribution process.
“We give to the homeless shelter first,” Fowler said. “Then we look at referrals.”
Churches and other organizations, including Mountain State Healthy Families, refer to the program children whose families may not be in a position to buy presents this year.
For fairness’ sake, Fowler said, he tries to be quite strict about the way presents are distributed.
“Kids must be referred by an organization,” he said. “Anyone who is part of the FRN can make a referral, as well.”
Gifts making their way up here next week vary, Fowler said, with toys such as baby dolls, dollhouses, and race car sets, clothing, and an array of educational sets and games.
There is one difference this year, added Fowler, in the way that the Greenbrier is making its donations.
“They asked that if they’re going to give toys for our are, we volunteer some time to helping with the process at the resort.”
Fowler said that he and some area youths who need community service have spent time helping collect, wrap, and arrange the items, building the “tree” of gifts — a two-storey high tree-shaped stack.
“I’ve already worked my time and I’m going back this Friday,” said Fowler. “Then Monday I’m going to take my car trailer down there and load up the 850 gifts, and drive them back up here.”
Fowler said he’s glad Mason County has the opportunity to take part.
“It’s a great program.” Fowler said, “And I think it’s awesome that Mason County is able to participate and bring the gifts for youth who need them.”