December 15, 2017

CARTERVILLE — Don’t let the bright lights of Christmas blind you. There is a darkness during this magical holiday season that many may not see.

It’s called poverty, which sometimes results in the abuse, abandonment, and neglect of children.

Can you imagine as a child a Christmas without a gift? Many in Southern Illinois find themselves with nothing to unwrap at all. No presents under a tree at a time that is supposed to be joyous and celebrated.

Knowing this, Glenn and Jo Poshard, co-founders of the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, decided to do as much as they possibly could about it.

John A. Logan College is home to the Poshard Foundation and has been for 18 years.

A year ago, the Poshard Foundation reached out to corporations for money to buy toys for those who would do without. It was a success. They did it again this year, but the magic grew even greater.

Buying children’s gifts with money donated by Tri-State Business Equipment in Harrisburg, Ameren Illinois, and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, the Poshards and Foundation volunteers literally transformed a large room in the College’s Workforce Development building into what seemed like a visit to Toys R Us.

All of the toys and gifts were brand new. Toys and gifts were collected by members of social service agencies in Southern Illinois on Monday and Tuesday and will be distributed to needy children just in time for Christmas.

“These children were not on anyone’s Christmas list, but they are now,” Jo Poshard said. “They are some of the neediest children in Southern Illinois who could have gone without this holiday season, but we were determined to find a way to make the holiday season a little brighter for them.”

Glenn Poshard gives his wife and Foundation volunteers all the credit.

“This is the largest Christmas toy giveaway in the region,” Glenn said. “Jo and our volunteers worked very hard to bring this about. They did it with so much love and joy, which marks this holiday season.”

It couldn’t be accomplished, however, without the business sponsors, Glenn noted.

“Even though it’s the Christmas season, no one has to give,” Glenn explained. “But look what happens when businesses and people do give. Look how magical the season becomes.”

Social service agencies, who are sometimes forced to accept second-hand items for the region’s neediest children, were overwhelmed by the massive toy display from which to choose.

“We are so blessed to be able to distribute these gifts and be a part of what Christmas is about, sharing gifts, sharing love to those who need it most,” Jo said.

Dr. Ron House, president of John A. Logan College, was amazed by what was taking place on the College’s campus. Logan isn’t the North Pole, but for many, many Southern Illinois children, it might as well be.

“There are so many wonderful things that take place on this campus, many of which the public may not be aware of at times,” House said. “To see the spirit of Christmas displayed in such a magnificent manner on our campus the way the Poshard Foundation has this week is a joy I wish everyone could experience.”