Rim country children could be faced with a blue Christmas this year.
Santa's List, the Rim country's primary holiday toy drive, has fallen on hard times, according to Brenda Martell, operations manager.
"We are $10,000 below where we were last year at this time," she said, "and we're expecting the number of children we serve to continue climbing."
Martell said that with the end of the June Bug Blues Festival, and the cancellation of the Fourth of July fireworks show, the charity lost two of its biggest fund-raisers.
Also known as the Payson Toy Drive, Santa's List has gone from serving an average 500 or 600 less fortunate children each year, to an all-time high of about 1,200 last year.
"We're faced with either having to raise more money, or collect more toys," Martell said. "With our Christmas in September campaign, we're trying to do both."
Throughout September, Santa's List has put up Angel Trees at various locations around town. On the trees are "generic" angels -- "angels with generic wishes for boys and girls in various age groups," president Barbara Wilembrecht said. "The sole purpose is to collect extra toys for our children."
Some of the items organizers know they'll be needing include Barbie dolls and accessories, basketballs, cars and trucks, CDs, DVD movies, dolls, baby toys and diapers.
"While those are just an idea of some of the things we'll be needing, people should feel free to donate anything they feel would be appropriate," Wilembrecht said.
Angel Trees can be found at Blockbuster Video, Country Kitchen, Energy West, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the new One Dollar Superstore, Planet Video and Wal-Mart.
In addition to the Angel Trees, other businesses have joined in to help.
Paper and Metal Scrappers in the Swiss Village Shops is holding a special drawing for any customer who donates scrapbook supplies for teenage girls.
On Saturday, Sept. 11, Enterprise Rent-a-Car is holding a benefit barbecue and car wash from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drive your dirty car down to Enterprise with a new toy, and the Enterprise team will make your buggy sparkle.
"We'll also be having a benefit dance at the casino sometime in the near future," Martell said. "We'll be advertising that as soon as we finalize the plans."
With the help of these and other Rim country businesses, Martell and Wilembrecht hope to save Christmas for hundreds of the area's less fortunate families.
For more information about fund-raisers, or to make a tax-deductible donation to Santa's List, call (928) 595-TOYS (8697).