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A University of Central Missouri club is getting into the holiday spirit early this year with Toys for Tots

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – The UCM Behavior Analysis club is partnering with Toys for Tots to host a toy drive at UCM. The drive started Wednesday, Sept. 20, and ends Friday, Dec. 1.

The BA club is a UCM student organization within the department of psychological science that informs students about behavior analysis and serves as a philanthropic organization.

Lindsey Hillhouse, the historian for the club, is organizing the event along with a member of the club’s communication committee, Wendy Hayworth.

“This is Santa for real for them,” Hayworth said. “This is someone they don’t know giving them a toy. Even if it’s something small, it’s still going to be incredible for them, so it really doesn’t have to be anything amazing.”

Toys for Tots is an organization that has been around since 1947. The organization donates toys to children that wouldn’t get a present around the holiday season otherwise because of their family’s financial struggles.

Michael Spencer, the coordinator of the local Toys for Tots organization, is helping the Behavior Analysis Club organize the event. Spencer said the Warrensburg Toys for Tots organization impacted over 1,800 kids in the area last year.

“It’s the right thing to do. It helps kids, and it’s all about the kids,” Spencer said.

Spencer said the organization is at the mercy of the community and its willingness to give to the children of the area.

“Contrary to popular belief, these toys don’t come from the North Pole. They come from the community,” Spencer said.

The organization will be accepting unwrapped toys along with cash donations for the duration of the drive. Spencer said 100 percent of any money collected will go towards purchasing toys.

Community members can find boxes for the toy donations in Lovinger 1111 and 4101. The ages of children receiving the toys range from newborn to 14 years old. Toys should be unwrapped.

In addition to the boxes located in the Lovinger building, there will also be a table set up at the Nov. 4 Mules football game and the Dec. 14 Mules basketball game for fans to make cash and toy donations.

The Toys for Tots drive will be the BA club’s philanthropic event for the semester. Hillhouse said the group is hoping the club is able to bring some attention to them while supporting a good cause.

“Our president of the BA club thought it would be a good philanthropic thing for us to do to get us out there so the community knows about us. We want to get people involved,” Hillhouse said.

To learn more about the club or to find information on donating to Toys for Tots, contact Lindsey Hillhouse at lrh33450@ucmo.edu.

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