TIPP CITY — For one young Tipp City resident, this time of year isn’t just about getting gifts, it’s about making sure other kids around the county get them, too.
This is the third year of 9-year-old Jacob Farris’ stuffed animal drive and he’s collected more than a thousand plush toys for kids all over Miami County. He’s collecting again this year until Dec. 21 at the Tipp City Public Library.
“I want to help kids that have less at Christmas,” Farris said of his motivation to begin collecting stuffed animals for children in need.
When Farris was looking for some way to help those kids, he talked to his mom about her experiences in foster care before she was adopted. And when she told him that there were Christmases when she didn’t get many gifts, he knew what he wanted to do.
“He wanted to give them some reason to smile at Christmas,” his dad, Ryan Farris said.
The project started as a teddy bear drive, but they accept any stuffed animals.
Originally the animals only went to the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, the elder Farris explained. But last year, the toy drive collected too many for the shelter to take — about 800 — so the remainder went to other local groups.
“We gave some to the Tipp City police department and fire department, because they carry stuffed animals with them for cases where somebody might have lost their entire house,” Farris said.
The abuse shelter will still get as many as they can handle first, Farris said, then the police and fire departments. Everything left after that goes to St. Vincent dePaul of Dayton.
The collected stuffed animals are stored at the Farris home and they make frequent drops to make sure it isn’t taken over by toys, Farris added.
Farris got his start while enrolled in St. John’s preschool program — he’s now a third grader at Broadway Elementary. His dad says his family is proud that someone so young could start a project that helps other young people.
“We’re very happy that he does this each year,” Farris said.
Jacob’s stuffed animal drive accepts any new or slightly used stuffed animals that are in good condition. Those animals may be dropped off at the Tipp City Public Library during open hours, just look for the large box wrapped like a Christmas gift. The final day of the drive is Wednesday, Dec. 21
The library is located at 11 E. Main St. It is open from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.