By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (December 18, 2016) – Erath County businesses banded together Saturday to help spread holiday cheer. Lilly G Ranch and Lilly G Riding Club organized a toy and food drive, which was held at the Twisted J complex and broadcast live on Texas Home Grown Radio.
Rick Taylor said the ranch and riding club took applications from Erath County residents who needed help with Christmas toys and received almost 40 requests for assistance.
“When Rick came to us telling us what he was trying to do, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the event was a success,” Jody Lee Caudle, owner of Texas Home Grown Radio, said. “I immediately approached the Johnson family, owners of Twisted J, and they didn’t hesitate to offer a location for the event. They invited Lilly G Ranch and riding club to set up their food and toy drive out here during their annual public Christmas party.”
Prior to the event, Taylor expressed some concern about collecting enough toys for all of the children on his list. He said he had hope to help as many as 50 children, but knew a number of local organizations had already called on public support for similar gift giving campaigns.
“It’s a lot to ask at Christmas time,” Taylor said. “A lot of local families are struggling, but I still have faith in the people of Erath County. We live in a very giving community.”
Give is exactly what the community did. Individual community members stacked toys on collection tables. The Johnson added to Santa’s bag by bringing in boxes filled with toys, and another generous donation was delivered by Danny Matthews with Texas Greasepaint Tour, a freestyle bullfighting organization from Terrell.
Meanwhile, donors were treated to discounts at the Twisted J Boutique and shopped the selection from a lineup of home-based businesses offering holiday gifts. They also enjoyed hot pizza from Cici’s and ice cold Dublin Bottling Works, which the businesses donated to the event.
The highlight of the afternoon rolled in one-by-one as Texas Home Grown Radio and Twisted J staff wheeled in 25 bicycles in varying sizes and styles.
Sonya Hance, on-air personality and advertising sales representative, said Texas Home Grown Radio sold Christmas greetings, allowing clients to share their messages throughout the month, and a portion of their payments was designated for the purchase of children’s bicycles.
David Baskett, president of Citizens National Bank in Stephenville, and Mailyn Baskett, with Farmers Insurance, donated five bicycles. Other businesses also donated to the bike fund.
In the end, Taylor was shocked by the turnout and humbled by the community support.
“I just can’t believe it,” he said.
The organizations also collected canned goods and nonperishable food items to help stock the shelves at The Pantry and More, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to community members in need.
Club members plan to deliver the gifts before Christmas Day.