KRAI holiday drive needs support

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For three years, the Craig Elks Club has been donating toys to the KRAI 93.7 and 102.5 Holiday Drive, but this is the first year the Elks had to put sideboards on the truck hauling the toys.

Frank Sadvar, exalted ruler of the Craig Elks, rolled into the Centennial Mall with the toys at about noon Monday in his jacked- up yellow pickup, Sarge's Ol Yeller.

Sadvar was happy to make the donation on behalf of the Elks. All the toys had been purchased using proceeds from bingo.

"We have really surpassed ourselves in toys," said Frank Hanel, KRAI owner.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, the drive had collected two truckloads of toys.

The toys are donated to Christmas for Kids.

Today is the final day of the drive. The KRAI staff will accept donations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the parking lot in front of the Centennial Mall.

"Today is the day. Don't put it off. Let's see what the community can give," Hanel said.

The drive was behind on cash donations by its close Monday, with $3,000 collected. Last year, KRAI collected about $22,000, and those donations are important to Advocates Crisis Services and the Interfaith Food Bank, Hanel said.

The board of directors shortened the drive from five days to two days this year, to avoid a long and drawn-out drive.

At noon, it seemed as if the radio station had gathered more toys than food. Basketballs, model cars, Barbies and stuffed animals filled one pickup.

But in another truck was a stack of Top Ramen noodles, cans of pineapples and six 40-pound bags of dog food.

Until 2 p.m. today, Kmart is donating one case of food for each case a customer purchases for the food drive, Fleming said.

"I was surprised at the dog food, but then again, I've noticed some homeless dogs," Fleming joked.

But people have come to the Interfaith Food Bank, located at the Shadow Mountain Clubhouse, asking for dog food, said Claudean Talkington, a food bank volunteer.

Other times, the food bank donates the dog food to the animal shelter.

All nonperishable items donated are helpful, Talkington said.

Each year, the drive has "really, really helped us," she said.

"Then we're so happy we can help the people. There's so many who need it," she said.

Along with Christmas for Kids, the Interfaith Food Bank and Advocates, the drive benefits Christmas for Seniors and the Community Budget Center.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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