Monday, February 26, 2024

'Tots' delivers Christmas joy

| December 2, 2023 1:00 AM

A fast food employee in Lexington, Ky., was hard at work when a co-worker told her a customer needed help.

The man had collapsed in the restaurant's parking lot and wasn't moving. Alexandria Cowheard, who is training to be nursing assistant, was working at the restaurant when she was urgently called over.

As she rushed out to the parking lot, Cowheard was calling 911; however, she realized the man wasn't breathing or responding. She knew the man needed immediate help, according to a story on the Good News Network website.

“I didn’t panic visibly, but in the back of my mind, I was like, what do I do,” Cowheard told a WKYT reporter. “I kind of short-circuited a little bit before I was like, ‘Girl, you know how to do CPR; get over here and do these chest compressions.’”

Before long, the man made a snoring sound and took a gasp of air. Not long afterward, emergency crews arrived and quickly transported the man to the hospital.

Cowheard, who learned CPR in high school, is working at the fast food franchise while she attends college for her degree. Her long-term plan is to work in a neonatal intensive care unit so she can reunite families, the GNN story reports.

She told Lexington reporters that she is happy she was able to help and knew what to do.

“I helped a man; proud of myself for that,” Cowheard said.

Like the Lexington nursing assistant student, the Sandpoint Lions want to make a difference in the world, albeit int their case, working to make Christmas merry for all.

With the community's help, the Lions' Toys for Tots drive provides free new toys for children in need who live in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between. In addition, gift cards to get the fixings for a Christmas dinner is also given to families.

Today’s generous donations, totaling $6,077, come from Bill and Marge Preuss, $250; Catherine L. and Allen E. Phillips $250, "in memoriam to my grandson, Hunter I. Phillips who passed away last January of gastric cancer at age 28;" Royce A. Howell, $50; Janis E Miller, $25; Charles A Tigert and Tracy A Tigert, $100;

Anonymous, $5,000; Millie M. Rinker, $50; Nancy F. Renk and Thomas B. Renk, $100; Jack R. Debaun and Janice S. DeBaun, $100; Shirley J. Chatfield, $50; and Paula Demers, $100.

To date, $9,230 has been raised. The goal for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign is $75,000, an increase over past years due to the number of people needing help.

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

Funds raised during the annual campaign go to purchase new toys for area children — or gift cards for older youth — who live in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Every Christmas, the Lions help almost 1,000 area children, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in between.

In addition, the Lions give a gift card to a local grocery store so that families can get supplies for their Christmas dinner.

The Lions started taking applications earlier this month, and demand for the program is already well above last year's total, with 100 more applications submitted during the first week than in 2022.

The club is accepting Toys for Tots applications until Dec. 15. Applications are available on the Lions' website, and printed copies are available on the door of the Lions Club, 609 S. Ella Ave.

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 (checks and cashier's checks) at Umpqua Bank’s Sandpoint branch, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; and at the Ponderay Starbucks. 

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 mention that in your 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, or online at

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