Herrin Hospital leads Share Your Christmas with toy drive

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Herrin Animal Hospital Receptionist Erin Crase, left, shows Veterinary Assistant Sara Crass, a puppy and other toys that were donated to the business by clients and will soon be in the arms of a local child, thanks to the toy drive the clinic hosts every year for Barry County children in conjunction with the Share Your Christmas program. As is the hospital's tradition for the last 16 years, the toy drive is kicked off each year with a chili dinner, in which clients and chamber members attend and bring a gift in exchange for some good chili, made by Dr. Brent Herrin, DVM, himself. Julia Kilmer reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Staff enjoy 16-year tradition of sharing Christmas

At the Herrin Animal Hospital in Cassville, a large box big enough to climb inside is quickly filling up with toys for Barry County children who might not otherwise have a good Christmas.

The animal clinic has been hosting a toy drive in conjunction with the local Share Your Christmas program, which provides Christmas presents for needy children, for the last 16 years, kicking off with a chili dinner.

"We like to help out the community by trying to provide a better Christmas for kids," said Sara Crass, veterinary assistant. "Every year, we do a chamber luncheon open house. Our clients come in and they bring a toy. Dr. Herrin makes chili, everyone comes in and hangs out and that's when we collect the most toys. It's fun."

"One year I made chili and everybody liked it, so I stuck with it," said Dr. Brent Herrin, DVM. "The biggest part of what we do is the open house. I make the chili, the girls help out, and we require clients to bring a toy. In addition to that, clients donate throughout the month, up until Dec. 17, when the toys are picked up by the Share Your Christmas program."

The clinic on 93 Smithson Drive is accepting toys for the drive through Thursday. Anyone is welcome to donate toys, but most of the gifts, including several bicycles, come from loyal clients who participate every year, staff said.

"We put a big box out every year by the Christmas tree," Crass said.

"We usually have about five or six bikes donated each year," Herrin said.

After the deadline, the toys are picked up and distributed to Barry County children by volunteers through the Share Your Christmas program.

All the staff agreed that sharing their Christmas by making the holiday meaningful for children who might not otherwise get presents is a great feeling.

"We love it and it gives us all a warm feeling to be able to do it," Herrin said.

"We're very excited to gather presents for the kids," said Receptionist Erin Crase.

"Herrin is the only [business] who does a toy drive," said Gail Reed, supervisor at the Ozark Area Community Action Corporation's Barry County Neighborhood Center, who has been involved with the Share Your Christmas program for 22 years. "The Republican Club does one every year, and different churches and businesses take the ornaments we provide with children's names on them."

Clients and the general public can also donate toys to the Monett Veterinarian Hospital, located at 215 Dairy Street in Monett.

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