Amy Lyerla, a Madison County Community Development employee, and Benjamin Motil, an intern with the same office, have been collecting children's gifts to be distributed by the Salvation Army, local shelters and a food pantry..

Motil was recruited to pick up and deliver the toys.

"We needed someone who’s in and out of the office," Lyerla said. "He’s done a great job for us."

The last day to contribute a gift in the drop box near the tree in the Madison County administration building is Wednesday, Dec. 19. Donors are encouraged to purchase new toys, but not to wrap their gifts.

After Dec. 19, gifts can be taken to Lyerla's office on 130 Hillsboro Ave., located in a rounded building, which shares a parking lot with Edwardsville City Hall.

Lyerla also suggested giving gift cards to local restaurants and stores.

The age range for children being served through this effort is from infant to age 14.

"It’s harder to buy for older children," Lyerla said. "You don’t know what they would like. Sometimes, it's easier for older kids to get a gift card to Subway, McDonalds or Wal-Mart. Its simple. I think the older kids appreciate that more. We’ll accept any type of gift for the kids."

According to the flyer sent out to all county employees, the "elves" at the North Pole will take care of the wrapping.

"A lot of people are donating," Lyerla said, including county employees and local attorneys.

For more information, call Madison County Community Development at (618) 692-8940.

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