By Tommy Mann Jr. – The Record

The holiday season is right around the corner, and one organization is preparing to help those in need just in time for Christmas.

The Service League of Orange has announced plans for its annual 59th Annual Toy Coffee event, which will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3. As always, guests who attend the event are asked to keep with tradition and bring a new, unwrapped toy or a cash donation.

Traditionally, the event has been held in a beautifully decorated house in the Orange-area, but this year the Service League has something different on tap as the Toy Coffee will be held at First Presbyterian Church, located at 902 W. Green Ave. in Orange.

“We are trying something different this year, and we are really excited about the location,” said Lisa Fournet, Toy Coffee Chairperson. “We weren’t sure about a house and were looking through our resources, when the church was volunteered for us to use.”

According to Fournet, co-chairperson Barbara Meyer spoke with Jennifer Umbenhaur, wife of Pastor Mike Umbenhaur, about the Service League making plans for the Toy Coffee when Umbenhaur stated the church might be a possibility.

The Service League met with the church officials and filled out a form to request usage of the church for its annual event. The Board of Directors of First Presbyterian Church approved the request at its next meeting.

“We wanted to keep the Toy Coffee in the historical district of Orange this year, and when the church was offered, we knew it was just meant to be,” Fournet added. “The church is so beautiful and has so much history.”

The church was established in 1878, according to information provided by First Presbyterian Church. Construction of the Lutcher Memorial Building at First Presbyterian Church was completed in 1912 and features classic Greek Revival architecture. It is also credited with being the first air-conditioned public building constructed west of the Mississippi River.

The church is also known for its beautiful opalescent stained glass windows, such as “The Good Shepherd,” “The Holy Family” and “Jesus in the Temple,” among others.

The church is home to a beautiful sounding 38-rank Casavant Organ, which is a three manual instrument with 2,435 pipes. It was installed in the spring of 1953 and the first recital was held on May 3, 1953.

Everywhere you look at First Presbyterian Church, art is a large focus of its construction and will be available for viewing during tours at the Toy Coffee.

“We will have docents providing tours of the church,” Fournet explained. “Everyone is really excited and this church has a lot of history that many people may not know. We’re excited to bring the Toy Coffee back to the community of Orange and to do our best to support those who are less fortunate for Christmas.”

In 2014, the event was held at two houses simultaneously in the Orangefield area. A total of 352 guests attended the Toy Coffee and donated more than 500 toys and nearly $3,600 in cash. Since 2009, approximately 2,300 guests have attended the annual Toy Coffee event and donated more than 2,800 toys and almost $24,000, according to information from the Service League.

The Service League of Orange hopes to surpass those figures at this year’s Toy Coffee.