On the Beat: 12/19

A Christmas Miracle

Toy drive helping make christmas very merry

By Jim Bucher


Funny sometimes how things work.

My friend, Beth Mann, who runs FLOC (For Love Of Childen) emailed me with a plea on behalf of the organization, saying that its toy cottage shelves are bare. Wondering if I could help get the word out.

Beth told me she was going to have a hard time filling the need this holiday season for the Christmas for Kids event.

FLOC, among its other great programs, including an anti-bullying rally every year, serves hundreds of needy children at Christmastime with new coats, hats, gloves, and, of course, toys. Matter of fact, it’s done year round.

“The FLOC toy shelves are very barren this year, but the need has increased,” said Beth Mann, President of the Board of Directors. “I can’t imagine young children having nothing on Christmas Day. People are still struggling, and we can’t forget that,” she added.

Another friend, Lauren Murphy-Zahora, owner of The Shopping Bag boutique in Kettering, (and her wonderful mom, Heather) were looking for a way to give back during this time of year, and so the connection was made.

“When made aware FLOC was in need of toys this close to the holidays, we jumped at the chance to help, because the holidays are more about giving than receiving. Hearing children would possibly not have a gift under the tree, our team said this couldn’t be and we had to step into action,” said Lauren Murphy-Zahora, President of The Shopping Bag.

This is what I personally love about the fine folks who call Dayton and the Miami Valley home. Their generous spirit and selflessness is unconditional. Ask and ye shall receive, as the Good Book says.

From back in my TV days, one story sticks out the most. The time a single mom and her three kids were robbed of all their Christmas presents. The whole newsroom was shocked. We sprang into action and on that evening’s broadcast the word went out. Soon after, we were flooded with help from the great folks of the Miami Valley.

Donations came in truckloads. Local stores offered gift cards. It was a very merry Christmas for this family. All thanks to the generous hearts of so many caring people.

So, to help FLOC pack and stack the shelves from now until this Friday, December 22, this is all you have to do.

Bring an unwrapped new toy to The Shopping Bag at Far Hills Avenue. Lauren will match the donation toy for toy, plus you’ll receive a gift card to the store.

Now that sounds like a win/win for everyone.

“The partnership with The Shopping Bag and the good people of the Miami Valley will guarantee a very Merry Christmas for the hundreds of families we serve.” Mann said.

We’re counting on you Miami Valley. We can do this.

Let’s fill the shelves at FLOC, and get those toys to where they’re most needed.

It is disheartening to think of a child with absolutely nothing on Christmas Day.

“The Shopping Bag appreciates the opportunity to do our part in making Christmas extra special this holiday season for children throughout the Miami Valley.” Murphy-Zahora said.

So, come on Dayton, Kettering, Clayton, Tipp, and all points in between, count your blessings and give thanks by donating a new toy.

It would mean so much and I’ll guarantee a warm feeling in your heart. Giving is truly better than receiving.

After all, that’s what the holiday is all about.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!


More: The mission of For Love of Children, Inc. (FLOC) is to provide financial, educational, and advocacy support to youth throughout the Greater Dayton Area. We serve children from ages newborn to 18 throughout the community. FLOC began servicing area children in 1980, and has grown into an industry of volunteers who are passionate about caring for neglected and abused children, children in foster care, and children in need of community resource. FlocDayton.org

What: FLOC Partners with The Shopping Bag for Holiday Toy Donation Drive / for every toy donated, The Shopping Bag will match the donation to FLOC

When: Now through Friday, December 22.

Where: The Shopping Bag, 3109 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering.


Distribution of collected toys will be Friday, December 22, TBA at The Shopping Bag, 3109 Far Hills Avenue in Kettering. Again, drop off a new, unwrapped toy to The Shopping Bag and receive one gift card per family donation. The Shopping Bag will also match the toy donation to FLOC.

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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