Each year, the Service League of Orange hosts a fundraiser that provides toys to children who otherwise wouldn’t have any on Christmas day. The Toy Coffee, which has been a long standing tradition in Orange County since 1956, will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the home of Kathy and Randy Brown. Their beautifully decorated home is located at 6315 Meadow Mist in the West Chasse addition in Little Cypress.

Though there is never a shortage of needy in any community, not all communities have a Service League. Lisa Fournet, a two-year member of the Orange County Service League and their Corresponding Secretary and the Publicity Chairperson, recently explained part of their mission, “We are a non-profit 501c3 organization that is run strictly on a Volunteer basis. Each one of the ladies is dedicating their own time and abilities to make the group successful. All profits are directed back into the area’s of need within the Orange County region.”

The Service League is an all-volunteer organization so all generated funds can be used strictly for the services they provide.

Every year a special home in the community is chosen. This home decorated from top to bottom in pure Christmas wonder, with a sleigh in the front yard for toy donations. The house is then opened for touring and refreshments on the day of the fundraiser.

“You can have a tour of the home, and then visit a delightful area to have a wonderful variety of refreshments,” Fournet said. “The home is decorated with a magical sense of Christmas and will inspire each and everyone that attends to get the Christmas spirit flowing.”

To enter the home is simple, dash to the store and pick up a toy, stash it in the open sleigh in the front yard and head inside.

Though the Service League began this tradition in 1956, by 1959 they had partnered with the Salvation Army to connect their event with their Christmas Store to identify particular kids in need. That partnership has stood the test of time and economy in giving to children in the community that otherwise would not experience the joy of the season.

The Toy Coffee provided more than 500 toys and $4,300 in donated cash from nearly 400 attendees last year.

Their work doesn’t end at 2 p.m. on Thursday. The next week is spent gathering and separating the toys for distribution. But the need this year is greater than ever. More and more people in the area are finding it easy to dream of a bountiful Christmas as in years past.

When asked about how this year seems to compare in numbers from last Fournet said, “Yes, the need to help others has increased dramatically due to the present economic situation.”

Cutting out a few cups of coffee or brown bagging a couple of lunches could easily pay for one toy. But that small sacrifice could change Christmas morning for one of at least 1000 children in Orange County.

For more information on this and other services or to become a part of the Service League of Orange see their web site at: www.serviceleagueoforange.com.