NEWTON and JASPER COUNTIES — 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but despite the hardships, the Jasper-Newton ABATE Toyz for Kidz program was able to help a total of 80 families with 210 kids this Christmas.

"I want to thank all of the people, organizations, and businesses in our communities, who every year, without the bat of an eye, are there to help us successfully help the many kids and families, throughout our two counties," said Glenn Junior Susnis, Jasper-Newton ABATE county representative and Toys for Kids Chairman.

Because of COVID-19 concerns for the first time since 1993, when Charlie Carrier started the drive, ABATE could not have its annual fundraising dinner.

"I am always stunned at the desire of people in both counties to open their hearts, and donate with either a toy or in a monetary way," added Susnis. "This year we had some big donators, and for that, I am extremely thankful."

Toy and monetary drop sites for this past year included Wiers Chevy, Fieldhouse Ford, Dollar General Stores at Wheatfield, Demotte, Roselawn, and Lake Village; Roselawn True Value, Remington True Value, Smiths Farm Store, Emerson Sondergrath Chevy, and Murphy’s Food King.

"We were able to get a few more places added this year to the drop sites, and they proved to be an awesome addition," said Susnis.

The ABATE program provides toys for kids up to age 11, but they also help youth up to the age of 18, as long as the 18-year-old is still in school.

Providing monetary donations this year included Aubrey’s Angels, Whickers Car Care, Kindell Insurance, Robert and Ruthann Mengel, Snyders Auto, Valley Motors, Jonkman Garage, White's Auto Sales, Kniman United Methodist Church, Sanctified Souls-Kniman Chapter, Lewis Carver, Phil’s Truck Stop, Wet Tech Inc., CR Repair, Murphy’s Grocery, The Pour House Bar and Grill, Ron and Kim Hamstra, Lighthouse (Scott), Sue Flick, Walmart, Rensselaer NAPA, First Trust Credit Union, Embers LLC, Wiers GMC, Jim and Dee Terborg, Conagra, George Hamstra trucking, Hoosier Associates, and Alliance Bank.

"Jasper-Newton ABATE would also like to thank my Dad (Jerry Susnis) for his work on the drop boxes, Kelvin Perry, Chrissy, JLo, my mom (Nancy Susnis), Eli, all of the members of the Grace Fellowship Church, Jeffro, Jasper county Library, and the Sanctified Souls for all your help both Friday night and Saturday sorting and doing what we call shopping for the families, and the many others whom I cannot remember," added Susnis. "I do have a big thank you to the Grace Fellowship Church, and Trevor Jones for the seamless transition from the way we used to do it to them taking over the reins of distribution. Trevor has done a great job in helping us get this done each year, hope we can continue this partnership for the community."

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