Fire destroyed the toy workshop of two of Santa’s helpers, but it won’t destroy their Christmas spirit.
Vince Else of Nodaway is like Iowa’s Santa Claus. Every year for the past 50-years, Vince and his wife, Judy, have collected used toys and lovingly cleaned and repaired every one by hand to give out….for free…to needy families at Christmas time.
Tuesday, the shop where they work all year to fix up the toys, was destroyed by fire. About nine hundred toys for next year were also destroyed by the flames. The Elses say, they’ll just collect more toys and start from scratch.
“The need is there. They need it.” Judy says, “We don’t want them to go without toys at Christmas.”
“They’re not going to eliminate Christmas are they?” Vince asks with a chuckle, “And if they’re gonna have Christmas we want the kids to have toys.”
Investigators blame faulty wiring for the fire.
Last year, they gave toys to 800 kids who otherwise wouldn’t have had a Christmas.
The Else’s say they don’t want your money, but if you happen to be in the Nodaway neighborhood, they could really use more gently used toys.
You can just drop them off at the community center.
UPDATE: After hearing news of the fire, Lifepoint Dental has offered to use their office locations in Ankeny, West Des Moines, and Marshalltown as toy drop-off locations closer to the metro.
They will be collect gently used toys through out January.