This Christmas, while most kids will experience the excitement of opening gifts left by Santa, some of our neighbors’ children may not be so fortunate. That’s why Santa’s Toy Box, a program conducted by the Rotary Club of Mercersburg, is so critical.

This year will mark the fifteenth year that the Rotary Club will deliver gifts to needy children in the Tuscarora area. The Mercersburg Jaycees initiated the program in 1971 and turned it over to Rotary fifteen years ago.
Liza Main, Cheryl Gehr and David Bell are the project’s co-chairs. According to Mrs. Main in 1991 seventy-four children received gifts and a little less than $5,000 was donated to the project. Last year, 305 children from 128 area families received gifts through Santa’s Toy Box.

“While the size of the project has grown considerably the basic project has not,,” said Liza Main. Every holiday season, the Rotary Club of Mercersburg raises funds to help buy clothes and toys for children in the Tuscarora School District who might otherwise not have a very merry Christmas. Each year the number of families helped has grown with gifts given to more than three hundred children. This year’s project is now underway and parents have already signed up for the program.

Local businesses and members of the Mercersburg community give the funds for this Rotary project which we call Santa’s Toy Box. Eighty dollars is spent on each and every child. One half of the money is spent on clothes and one half is spent on toys. The Rotarians shop for ALL the clothes and toys selected especially for each child by their parent or parents. Each child receives at least five gifts. The Rotary Club of Mercersburg purchases all of the wrapping paper, gift tags and tape to wrap the gifts. The Rotarians also make personal donations to the Santa’s Toy Box fund. The Rotarians wrap all the gifts (over 1,000 in 2014 alone) with the help of the 9th grade students from the Mercersburg Academy. The Sunday before Christmas (December 20th) six Rotarians will don a Santa suit and travel throughout the school district to deliver the gifts directly to the children in their homes.

Mrs. Main also recognized the remarkable support the project receives from local businesses and individual donors. “This is truly a cooperative program,” she said, “that affords the community as a whole a mechanism for demonstrating its compassion and generosity to hundreds of children.”
2015 statistics:

148 families will be helped in the Tuscarora School District

361 children will receive toys clothes (2,585 total students in the Tuscarora School District)

Member of the community and local business (130+) have donated have donated over $20,000 to support the project so far this year this year

Over 100 students from the Mercersburg Academy will help wrap the over 2000 gifts in two hours

10 Santa’s will deliver the gifts to each child’s door on December 20th

Gifts will be wrapped on December 9th at 7:00p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Mercersburg, 11 North Fayette Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236