When the tornado in Joplin, MO happened in 2011, several members of Lone Star Santas saw the opportunity to reach out to children and families affected by the natural disaster. After all, adults receive more focus during these horrific events. Children are left to be cared for mostly by their parents and other family members.
Who better to bring smiles to children’s faces than Santa Claus? And, amongst all the loss, make sure they had something they could call their own…a new toy.
Monies were donated, toys were donated and purchased by members, and a Convoy of Toys was organized. This was our first call to action. It was devastation to the community but we saw the need to reach out to children of all ages to bring Love, Hope, Joy…and Toys, all wrapped in a big Santa hug directly to those impacted by natural disasters.
Joplin Mo. 6/2011 – First Mission, had not formally started COT 501(c) (3) for this mission. It was from this mission that the idea of Convoy of Toys was formulated and becoming a non-profit charity was born. Original ‘12’, twelve Santas, three Mrs. Claus and a few elves. Arrived in Joplin ten days after EF- 5 tornado and the number of children 250.
El Reno, OK 6/6011 (on the way to Joplin) – Very brief stop in El Reno and a Community Center in DT El Reno, Saw 10 – 20 children. Same storm that spun off Joplin tornado sparked a minor tornado in El Reno.
Magnolia / Bastrop TX 8/2011 – Wild fires prompted this COT, hundreds of families displaced for several days. First time to set up in a school. Only 20 – 30 children, 10 – 15 Santas; but made everyone happy.
Forney TX 5/2012 – Early May tornado east of Dallas damaged several homes and businesses in this small community. Small event 20 – 30 children. One or two Santas
Lancaster TX 5/2012 – Tornado early May – responded with about 6 Santas – worked with a church parish. Used a ‘business club’ from local HS for elves. Small event 40-50 children.
West TX 5/2013
Granbury TX 6/2013 Double Header w/ Cleburne
Cleburne TX 6/2013 Double Header w/ Granbury
Moore OK 6/2013
Van TX 5/2015
San Marcos TX 8/2015 Double Header w/ Wimberley (same day)
Wimberley TX 8/2015 Double Header w/ San Marcos (same day)
Garland / Rowlett TX 1/2016
Deweyville TX 9/2016
Emory / Fruitvale TX Double Header 6/2017
Eustace TX 6/2017
Martin’s Mill, TX 6/2017
Hurricane Harvey Shelter visits
Houston ‘NRG’ Stadium 9/2/17
Dallas Mega Shelter 9/4/17
Here is a list of the COT event held in Puerto Rico.
11/20/17 Coamo neighborhood. Went house to house visiting and giving plushies to children. Also water, hot food, and care kits were passed out in a cooperative effort.
12/14/17 Boys and Girls Club, San Juan. A local club had been displaced by hurricane Maria and is meeting in an area provided by The Mall of San Juan.
12/22/17 Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, San Juan. Each child, on the pediatric ward, not able to be home for Christmas, received a visit from Santa in a COT Event in conjunction with Scotia Bank.
12/23/17 comunidad Palo Seco at Santa Isabel. COT joined the Nursing Students of the University of Puerto Rico to provide Christmas to approximately 150 children who would not have received anything for Christmas.
Mrs Donna Claus was able to volunteer with Red Cross and was able to provide plushies to needy children as she provided her nursing skills in the unreached areas of the interior.
Any remaining plushes were left with the spiritual care team of the Red Cross in Puerto Rico.