As someone who started his family when he was young, I can empathize easily with parents who find themselves in a real bind during Christmastime each year. I deeply love each of my children, and when you know they would want a specific toy or even just a type of toy that's out of reach financially, it tears at your heart to know you can't deliver. Mindful of this, my wife and I try to support Toys for Tots
and other like-minded charities like Angel Tree
|Would this be a 2-2-0 in Whyte notation?|
Yet, we are just one family. Therefore, I was grateful to hear that the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad put together a drive for Toys For Tots this year! Anyone donating an unwrapped toy received a ticket to ride a special train put together for Christmas by the C&TS. Here are the finer details from a C&TS press release:
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad conducted a holiday fundraising effort during the weekends of December 10 and 11, 2016 in Antonito, Colorado and December 17 and 18, 2016 in Chama, New Mexico, to help Toys for Tots and area Food Banks provide for families in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Free Santa Trains were offered for the cost of an unwrapped toy or a packaged or canned food item.
|2 Photos: Roger Hogan, courtesy C&TS|
The ridership in Antonito was 1,744 and the ridership in Chama was 1,492 for a total of 3,236. There were 956 toys collected by the Volunteer Fire Department in Chama and 2,891 pounds of food. Both weekends were attended by eager kids, excited parents and proud grandparents. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus greeted the crowds and heard many sincere requests for toys from the happy children.
The Antonito Toys for Tots effort sponsored by the U.S. Marines, collected 875 toys, 182 stocking stuffers and 13 books. The food collection numbers sponsored by the food band in Antonito came to approximately 3,000 pounds. Nimble elves dressed in green and red with jingly hats bounced around the entire train serving Christmas cookies and hot chocolate to the throngs of people who came to these two towns to celebrate the season and support the worthy charity causes.
Being able to contribute when we can now that we're older gives me a very rewarding feeling that lasts a lot longer than the Christmas season. Of course, it's not just about gifts. It's about a baby who was born to die, a gift prepared by hands unseen to meet an impossible price. Like I tell my kids all the time, Jesus loves you. He wants a real friendship with you
. He is just waiting for you to say "Hi."⚒