‘Tots’ drive helps make Christmas merry

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SANDPOINT — Mortimer was a constant presence in our home.

Mortimer, an elf from the North Pole, was assigned to our family by ol’ St. Nick himself to watch over us to make sure the six of us behaved. Able to cloak himself in invisibility, it only took the invocation of his name when we were about to misbehave to snap us back into good behavior … most of the time. Mortimer made frequent reports to Santa, letting him know whether we were eating our vegetables, getting along with our siblings, doing our homework, and more. There seemed to be little that Mortimer didn’t tell his boss at the North Pole.

Come to think of it, since this before smartphones, Facebook and social media, Mortimer must have had the ability to transport himself to and from the North Pole in the blink of an eye. He never seemed to miss a trick or be out of our house when he was needed — which was often ... after six kids.

Come to think of it, it’s any wonder that Mortimer had any time to himself, much less eat, sleep or hang with his fellow elves. I’m sure we kept him busy — at least my siblings did. I was a perfect angel. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Ignore my siblings if they try to bring up the time I opened up ALL of the Christmas presents. I was 3 years old and we had two trees. Besides, Santa sent a list to my parents of what he dropped off so everyone got what he’d left for them. No harm, no foul.)

I still think about Mortimer and wonder how he’s enjoying his retirement or if Santa assigned him to another family — hopefully one with fewer children who give him a few moments of peace and relaxation.

Also in the business of helping Santa get presents to boys and girls are the Sandpoint Lions Club, who are in the midst of their annual Toys For Tots campaign.

Today’s donations add up to $286.50, bringing the total to $18,624.97

Generous contributions were received from: Baxters on Cedar coin jar, $3; Zips Drive-In coin jar, $3.72; Connie’s coin jar, $5.20; The Hound coin jar, $9.28; Trinity coin jar, $1; Mr. Sub coin jar, $48.30; Coldwell Banker Resort Realty coin jar, $23; Brian & Kathryn Powell, $50; anonymous, along with a note indicating the donation was “given in loving memory of Baby Aaron on his 43rd birthday. God bless all the children,” $43; and anonymous, $100.

The goal for this year’s campaign is $50,000 — the same as it has been in past years. The Lions make the most of the money by shopping bargains, and with the assistance of generous local businesses.

The Toys for Tots program provides free new toys for children living in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between. A Christmas dinner for the family is also provided.

Those who need help this year can apply at the Lions Den, 607 S. Ella Ave., Sandpoint (west of Memorial Field next to the Bonner County History Museum.)

The Lions Den will be open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Monday, Dec. 18, so members can accept applications. Applications also are available at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare office.

If you have any questions about Toys for Tots sign-up, call Judy Dabrowski, 208-290-5314.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Donations also can be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, P.O. Box 414, Sandpoint, ID, 83864

You can also drop off donations at Columbia Bank’s main branch in Sandpoint, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Kootenai Cutoff Road.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please include a note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at clobsinger@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.

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