Now, more than ever, is a time we should consider the needs of others. This pandemic has been rough on all of us, and for many families, the quarantine, school closings, business furloughs and other situations have had a major impact on them.

Here we are in the midst of the holiday season, and you might think we are finding our normal again. Many families are not back to normal, and are now wondering how they will bring a smile to their children’s faces with Christmas just around the corner.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the Town of Bluffton’s Toy Drive and how we are collecting unwrapped toys and gifts for children through age 15. This is the seventh year we have been collecting donations and, as in years past, this community is very generous.

We received a record number of toys during this drive – many thanks to those who continue to pay it forward. 

The toys and items you donated will be taken to Bluffton Self Help where volunteers set up Santa’s Shop. The parents and guardians pre-register to qualify to be part of the program.

Once registered, they come to Santa’s Shop and pick out the gifts for their children. It’s such a wonderful option for Bluffton families who would not have any other way to purchase gifts.

Another example of paying it forward was the annual request for turkeys, by our very own Bluffton Police Officer Oscar Frazier. This has been a mission of his for many years, and he partners with the high schools and Boys and Girls Club.

This past Thanksgiving, he again hit a new bar of donated turkeys from all of our very giving residents. Thank you for helping Officer Frazier reach his goal.

Speaking of generosity, I’m excited to announce our partnership with the May River Grill this year. Charlie Sternburgh, the owner and chef of May River Grill, is raising money to purchase dozens of bicycles to add to Bluffton’s Toy Drive. We can’t thank you enough, Charlie, for this contribution.

For the children who receive these bikes, it will be a Christmas they will never forget.   

If you are reading this and know of any other business or group doing a similar toy or food drive, please let us know and we will spread the news. #shoplocal #payit forward

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.