Company buys toys for kids in need

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Thousands of children across Region 8 could wake up Christmas morning to very little under the tree.  That's why businesses and individuals are stepping forward to help provide for others this holiday season. 

"We give them a list.  We try to give them one that is specific to their family that they have children in that age group so that way it's more fun for them to shop," said Optus Inc. employee Lori Smith.

"I was invited by my daughter and since I don't have any little grandchildren anymore this is fun," said Stephanie Eldridge.

"This time of the season most kids are focused on what they want and so it's just a great opportunity for them to focus on the needs of others in our community," said Smith.

Employees of Optus and their family members are given $40 a child by the company to spend for foster children in north east Arkansas.

"It gives underprivileged children the chance to have a Christmas which they might not get without our help," said Gayle Bryant.

Giving them the chance to physically help provide for a child who really needs something bought just for them.

"It's very heartwarming because growing up as a kid we didn't have a lot either so it's nice to be able to grow up and give back what somebody else gave me as a kid," said Bryant.

"With our economy like it is there's a lot of kids that are going to have a good Christmas by people doing stuff like this," said Eldridge.

Buying nothing but toys may not seem like the right thing to do for kids in need but these volunteers say it's exactly the right thing to do.

"I work with kids at school and I see it.  When you see their faces light up there's nothing like it," said Eldridge.

Because of the long standing partnership between K-Mart and Optus Inc. the store gives the group a 10% discount on their parade of toys purchases.  This year Optus spent $3,124.14 on toys.  Over the past 14 years that they've been doing this the company has spent $46,000.

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