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Thursday, November 12, 2020

500 Toys for Christmas - Keysha McClanahan and Friends Are Out to Make the Holidays Brighter


What a year.  No matter how we look back on 2020 in the future "remarkable" will have to be one of the words that gets kicked around.  From the problems we've had with the pandemic to how we've struggled with dealing with it, our political differences, our unsure futures, who we've lost, what we've lost and why....this will be etched in our minds.  It's been over 100 years since such times and let's hope that in the next 100 we remember better.  

Of course too, there have been those who've left another memory.  There are those who have risen above.  There are those who have carried on.  There are those who did more with less and gave all they had because that's what was needed.  We have seen champions on every level.  We have seen amazing acts of selflessness and we all know those who have quietly done things for friends and neighbors who will never get any credit, recognition or praise.  They did what is right, because it's the right thing to do and that was all they needed.  Big or small, humanity has certainly risen to the occasion and in our world, it's finding those who preserver and continue to offer the assurance that no matter what comes along, in the end, we will indeed be ok.

This is the story of Keysha McClanahan and her group of friends who have decided that with the holidays so rapidly approaching, that they'd set a goal of gathering up 500 toys to be distributed to kids who have equally been through the ringer in 2020.  Those who's parents may have to focus more on food and rent rather than toys and games.  It's kind of the story every year for some, we all know that.  The world isn't perfect after all, but this year it's these acts of kindness that really need a spotlight.  

Keysha is a preschool teacher at  Glenside she's also part of The Deborah Project supporting single mothers, self described she's a "pastors wife, mother, granny author and educator and the organizations she's with see the need in real time, day after day and it's so very real.  Recently, there was a "Trunk or Treat" event that they held with much success and it inspired Keysha and friends to give it another shot to see if it can be built upon as Christmas approaches.  The goal?  500 new, unwrapped toys to provide to some of the moms and families that they reach to help them out in a time when it's needed most.  They are frontline helpers with those in need.  They are not a giant agency.  They are friends and neighbors who have come together to bless who they can and they represent exactly how community is built.

How can you help?  Well, it's pretty easy.  There are a couple of drop off locations.  Emmanuel Tabernacle at 1885 S. Getty is a drop off location as well as Soul Filled Eatery located at 3232 S. Glade Street.  It just so happens that Keysha's husband is the Pastor at Emmanuel Tabernacle so that made it pretty easy for a drop off point.  Just added drop off locations are MOCAP, Genesis Salon and DVG Beauty Boutique.  You can also find some contact info in the photo below if you'd like to make arrangements for maybe a pick up from a work collection.  How about that for an office or shop project this year?  A great way to help.

Keysha was able to spare a few minutes to talk with us about all she's got going on and share her and her friends desire to make a difference, take a listen. 

This is what builds Muskegon.  Piece by piece and little by little we set ourselves a part by making sure that needs are met.  It doesn't often come with a lot of fanfare or pomp and circumstance.  It's also not the kind of thing that rips your attention for headlines but this is the memory we should all take away from the year that was.  No matter the strife, no matter the fear, no matter the stare downs we had or the times we walked away not on speaking terms....there were those who still assured that the needs were met.  They did it humbly.  They did it for others.  They did it because it was the right thing to do and it's our greatest honor to once again, be able to shine a little light on those who step it up and make it happen.  We live in a town of miracles, and you're watching one unfold now. 

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