Brigham City man taking toys to Joplin

Jun 9 2011 - 10:53pm

BRIGHAM CITY -- When Keith Yeager watched news coverage after a massive tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo., on May 22, he couldn't help but think of the children.

"I just kept watching the news and seeing the devastation down in Joplin," he said. "A lot of things are being done for the adults, but the kids' world has been destroyed, too."

Yeager thought people would contribute and he could fill the trunk of his car with toys that he would personally take to that devastated city. He planned to pick up his grandchildren in Colorado so they could experience the rewards of giving to others in need.

He mentioned it to a few of his buddies. Then, Yeager, who sometimes drives for Meals on Wheels, felt like he needed to talk to Nancy Green, director of the Brigham City Senior Center. The funny thing was, Green said she had listened to a radio program that very same morning, where she heard the story of an 8-year-old who collected blankets for the people in Joplin.

"What am I doing?" she asked herself.

They started spreading the word -- on Facebook, on marquees throughout Brigham City, on flyers passed out at churches, and plain old word of mouth.

The response has been so generous that Yeager isn't going to be able to take his car to Missouri after all.

"I was down there today, and I loaded up my truck, and it was piled way high," he said. "And that is the second load."

Yeager said a lot of the toys donated have been stuffed animals, cars, books and push toys. Brigham City's Youth City Council will gather this weekend to sort and categorize all of the toys before he makes the trip east.

When he gets to Missouri, Yeager already has a willing helper in the quest to deliver sunshine to children. Francell Bowman, of Brigham City, called Green because Bowman's granddaughter lives in Joplin, where she works as a nurse. She has agreed to be a point of contact when Yeager arrives in Joplin.

Toys will be accepted at the Brigham City Community Center through today. While Yeager said the effort will primarily focus on children, there is also a need for skateboards, tricycles, bicycles, strollers, car seats, wagons, boys toys for children age 6-12, C and D batteries, folding camp chairs, women's clothing, cleaning supplies and hygiene kits.

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