Toy drive makes merry Christmas for 200 kids in Yerington

YERINGTON - Many children in Mason Valley may not have had much of a Christmas without Glendeen Butterfield.

Butterfield's toy drive each of the past six Christmas seasons has supplied toys to some 175 children, many of whom would have had no presents at all without her efforts.

The gifts were handed out a week ago at the Oddfellows Hall in Yerington to 213 children, the most yet for the Robert Ayers Memorial Toy Drive, named after Butterfield's brother.

"We figured we may have more than 200 this year because of the new people in Mason Valley," Butterfield said.

There was a drawing for five new bikes and about 20 used bikes were given away first come, first serve, Butterfield said.

"It's awesome, isn't it?" Butterfield said the day before toys were handed out. "It's wonderful."

Many hundred stuffed dolls were piled on 25 theater seats lining the walls and tables were stacked high with toys bright in primary colors.

Toy collection boxes stood at the R-C Food Center, the Bootlegger and Video World since October with locals dropping in used toys that were given away at Butterfield's toy drive. She said toys and dolls were bleached, washed and disinfected before they were given away.

"The community has a heart," Butterfield said.

"I'm so proud of our town, our community," said Crickett Schopp, who helped Butterfield with the toy drive along with Pat Weller and Shirley Ruby.

The foursome does the drive each Christmas. This season, Schopp's mother, Lee Bagshaw, visited early from Texas to help with the toys.

Butterfield started the toy drive in memory of her brother, Robert Ayers, who was killed about six years ago at Harris Ranch, near Coalinga, Calif.

"This is my way to remember my little brother," Butterfield said. "He loved toys. He was 45 years old and he loved to be with toys. I just don't want my little brother's name to be forgotten."

A week ago Friday, Butterfield's team brought the thousands of toys from storage to the Oddfellows Hall. They spent the afternoon arranging the toys at the hall and converting a back room into the Santa Claus Room.

On Saturday, Santa entertained the children while parents selected toys.

"We take each parent through one at a time," Butterfield said. "Each child gets at least one new toy, four or five used toys and as many stuffed dolls as they want."

Butterfield said her informal toy drive has had to stay in Lyon County but she wants to form a non-profit organization and distribute toys throughout Nevada's rural counties.

"I want to do this because there's kids in the state of Nevada who get no Christmas and they don't get anything from Toys for Tots or the Salvation Army," she said.


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