Over the next week, the Morning Madhouse will be living in a box in the Wal-Mart Super Center parking lot on Airline Drive in Bossier City.  This is our annual toy drive, and for many years we have committed ourselves to collecting toys around the clock on order to meet the ever increasing number of parents in the Shreveport/Bossier City area that need help putting toys under the tree this Christmas.

The most common question that we've heard has been: Why do you do it?  I know that may seem straight forward.  We collect donations of new, unwrapped toys and cash (that we turn into toys) and give them to the charities that we partner with.  Operation Santa Claus, Roy's Kids, and the Shriner's Hospital will make sure that the toys get to a deserving kid.

While that is a good reason, I have a much more personal one.  I lost my job back in November of 2012.  It was a blow to my family, and a much bigger one was yet to come.  Just 2 weeks before Christmas, we received an eviction notice from my landlord.  We were outside of a lease, and paying month to month.  Our rent had gone up without notice, and the house had already been rented to my replacement at work.  To make matters worse, I had just landed a job but wouldn't be able to start work until January.  With any money we had tied up in groceries and bills - putting something under the tree was just out of reach.

The depression that caused was pretty tremendous.  My son was 4 years old, and had been a pretty good boy.  When he wanted to tell me what he wanted for Christmas, it was hard to keep a smile.  Luckily, some very close friends left a care package of toys for us to wrap up that year.  Along with a few things from family members, my boy never knew how hard we were struggling.  My point is, when you donate toys or cash - you're not just helping the kids feel the magic on Christmas morning.  You're helping whole families.

I will be living in a box to collect as many toys as I can because I know that as horrible as I felt - there are those who have it much worse.  Sometimes - Mom, Dad, and even Santa need a little help to make it through.