This year, several local businesses and community organizations are planning and hosting multiple different toy and coat drives for the children of the area during the holiday season. Precautions are being taken during each of the drives due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the toy and coat drives is being held by Cash Express. This is the company's 16th annual drive for the children, said Manager Glenda Hollins. This year, Hollins said, is slightly different due to the pandemic, but more important than ever.

“We have 42 boxes out now at different locations all over Perry County. That's a lot less (than previous years) because of businesses being closed and stuff,” said Hollins. “With all the COVID going on, everything shut down, families shut in and people out of work, it is imperative that we give more and help more this year to people in need, because there are more families who are going to need more help this year.”

This year, Hollins said, Cash Express is pairing up with the local domestic violence program to become a blessing to families in the community. During the toy and coat drive, Cash Express will be accepting toys, coats, shoes, clothing and non-perishable food items in many drop off locations in the area. Employees ask that all donations be received by Dec. 15 in order to have them delivered in time for Christmas.

Another business that is currently holding a toy drive for the community's children is Rudy's Bakery. On Nov. 18, representatives of Rudy's Bakery announced their business will be collecting toys and coats for children, starting that day and lasting until Dec. 20. Any toy or coat donations can be dropped off at the bakery.

Little Flower Clinic announced that there will be a drive-thru giveaway at their facility from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 16. Participants are asked to stay in their cars during the giveaway. Several guidelines will be in place for safety precautions. Guidelines for the clinic's giveaway include: toys must be new and in original packaging, no used toys due to infection control guidelines, donations should not be gift wrapped, art supplies must be non-toxic and all toys should be latex free.

The Care Cottage is also seeking donations for children during this time. Items being requested include regular sized Christmas stockings, candy canes, candy assortments, small toys, Christmas coloring books, gift wrapping paper and children's pajamas. Additionally, the organization has asked that community members adopt, or sponsor, a child client by buying them Christmas presents. For more information, call, (606) 487-9173.

On Nov. 19, representatives of the Mother Goose Inn announced they are taking up donations to assist the Care Cottage. “We always like to give back to our community and help with the needs of our kids. This year, we will be asking our customers to donate one or more of the items on the list provided by the Care Cottage to do Christmas Eve boxes for kids. Bring in an item and you will get a free Mother Goose Inn magnet for your kindness,” said representatives of the Mother Goose Inn. Donations will be accepted starting Friday, Nov. 20, and lasting until Sunday, Nov. 29.

More businesses and organizations have expressed interest in holding toy and coat drives as the holidays near.