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World's top Key Club project helps families in the Murphysboro area

posted Aug 26, 2016, 3:13 PM by James Wells

World's top Key Club project helps families in the Murphysboro area


Murphysboro High School Key Club members Daisy Watkins, Olivia Schaldemose and Drew Stokes wrap presents Friday afternoon as part of the club’s efforts to help needy families in the Murphysboro area.


Bekka Treshansky and Matt Cskey sort food Friday as part of Murphysboro High School Key Club’s annual Share the Spirit Toy-Coat-Food Drive.

MURPHYSBORO — When faculty adviser Bob Hall and the Murphysboro High School Key Club started a toy drive 35 years ago, they had no idea how the project would grow.

That first year, the club had toys stacked four feet high around the walls of the basement of a local hardware store. This year, the club's annual Share the Spirit Toy-Coat-Food Drive is housed in a two-story building on Walnut Street. The project has been named the number one Key Club project in the world for six years, meaning it is the best project in 33 countries.

“We do this every year to put on Christmas for the kids who don’t really get much and to get food for families who can’t really put on a big Christmas dinner on the table,” Shane Laughland, co-chair of the event, said. “Our goal is to collect toys, coats and food to supply to about 500 families.”

To help with that goal, the club has placed donation boxes in these Murphysboro locations: Super Walmart, Sallie Logan Library, the Elks Lodge, Dollar General, Murphysboro Water Department, the office of Scott Evans CPA, Wright’s Do-It Center, Rural King, Kroger, Heartland Chiropractic and the Bank of Carbondale.

“Other people can get involved by donating in our boxes,” Shane said.

Hall said new toys are still needed, especially for infants to age 3 and children ages 7 and older. The club has collected a lot of stuffed animals, so they are requesting no more stuffed animals.

“Cash donations are always nice,” Hall said. “The club will spend more than $12,000 to finish the food baskets.”

The club will purchase hams, flour, sugar, fruit, macaroni and cheese, crackers, peanut butter, cake mix and icing, vanilla wafers and more. Checks may be sent to Murphysboro Key Club, 28 Candy Lane, Murphysboro, IL 62966.

Mike Cripps and First Bank and Trust of Murphysboro donated use of the building.

Jan Koberstein’s kindergarten class at Saint Andrew School donated a lot of toys, food and coats. The class has participated in the drive for several years, but this year’s donation was the largest yet. Hall said the children delivered the goods to Key Club and saw how their donations added to the drive. They also learned how important the project is to families in need.

Murphysboro Middle School hosted a wrapping paper drive. Hall said the club will not have to buy paper, thanks to the efforts of the middle school.

Key Club members will begin packing and sorting items for delivery next week. Deliveries will begin Dec. 12. The club can still take names for toys and coats through Dec. 9, but it is no longer accepting requests for food. All requests must be made in writing to MHS Key Club, 28 Candy Lane, Murphysboro, IL 62966. No requests will be taken by phone or at the high school. Requests must include the parents’ names, addresses and phone numbers, as well as the children’s names, ages, gender and coat size, if a coat is needed.