Sunday, December 10, 2023

'Tots' drive off to slow start

Staff Writer | December 14, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — She's a country music legend.

She an actress, songwriter and businesswoman, to boot. She founded The Dollywood Company, which manages a number of entertainment venues.

And, if that wasn't enough, Dolly Parton is dedicated to any number of charitable efforts, particularly literacy. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, part of her Dollywood Foundation, mails a book every month to every child enrolled in the program from their birth until they enter kindergarten.

The foundation also has donated to a proposed cancer center, funded vaccinations — her donation funded the critical early stages of development of the Moderna vaccine — and her foundation's donations have helped everyone and everything from wildfire victims and the poor to helping preserve the bald eagle.

All with a smile and a gratitude that she is in the position to help others.

Recently, Parton was announced as the 2022 Courage and Civility Award recipient by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The award comes with a $100 million prize to direct to the charities of her choice.

"The award recognizes leaders who aim high, find solutions and who always do it with civility," Lauren Sanchez said in a video posted to Bezos' social media.

Turning to the crowd, Bezos said Parton thoroughly embodies the ideals of the award.

"She gives with her heart," he said. "What she's done for kids, literacy and so many other things, is just incredible."

After taking the stage and joking about the amount, Parton said that when people are in a position to help, they should.

"And I know that I've always said, I try to put my money where my heart is … I will do my best to do good things with this money," she told Bezos.

Doing good and putting money to great causes is what the Sandpoint Lions Club does as well.

Each year, along with the help of local businesses and the community, the Lions raise funds for its Toys for Tots Christmas drive — ensuring that more than 900 local youngsters have a chance to open that gift ­— THE gift, the one that is exactly what the wanted, that could only have come from Santa — and unleash a blinding smile of pure joy.

Today's generous donations, totaling $435 come from Jeffrey & Alesia LeBlanc, $10; David Mundell, $100; Bonner County Sportsmen's Foundation, $250; and anonymous, $75.

The total donations received to date add up to $435 for a total of $13,261.43.

Each year, the Sandpoint Lions set a $50,000 goal — the same as it has been in past years — to buy Christmas gifts for children living in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between.

The Lions make the most of the money by shopping bargains, and with the assistance of generous local businesses.

If you know someone, or need help yourself, the Lions are taking applications for the Toys for Tots program. Applications are available at Bonner Community Food Bank and on the door of the Lions Den.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also drop off donations at Columbia Bank’s Sandpoint branch, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; the Ponderay Starbucks, and the Ponderay Mountain West Bank.

Donations may be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, Box 414, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please include a note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Information: Sandpoint Lions Club, 208-263-4118

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