Preparing for the annual Toy Coffee

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


A tradition in Orange is in the final planning stages as many await the big day. 

Toy Coffee, an event of the Service League of Women to benefit the Salvation Army, will be the 

Toy Coffee, held on the first Thursday in December offers a tour of a home opened to the public. This year, the event will be held on December 5, 2019.

Planning for the event is a process that starts almost as soon as the last event is over. First, a committee has to decide which homes are an option, and then they have to ask the homeowner for permission.

On Monday, the committee, led by Toy Coffee Chair Patsy Kemp, were at the home of Orange City Councilmember Paul Burch, to do a ‘walk-thru’ and to decide the perfect locations for everything from where to serve the food, where to sit the guests, how many docents were needed and the all-important back up plans in case of rain.

Decisions such as where to place the sleigh for the toys, to where will the truck sit so the bagging and loading of the toys is not visible to the guests were decided.

Also, safety and comfort were discussed as the number of people per group was decided as well as what order the rooms will be shown.

“We can put the sign-in table here and the counters here,” Kemp said as she jotted down some notes.  

“Do you know the history on this?” Kemp would ask.

The homeowner has to supply information such as the history of an item, the significance of a collection or the sentimental value on items in each room.

“It can feel intrusive to the homeowners,” Toy Coffee Co-Chair Tricia Stroud said. “We are so grateful to the homeowners for allowing us. We could not do it without them.”

Watching the six women working together, one can tell the big day will appear to be a well-orchestrated event.

Admission to the annual event is a new, unwrapped toy or a monetary donation, which is given to The Salvation Army of Orange County for use in its Christmas program for needy families.

The Service League of Orange helps bag up the toys with the Salvation Army to be handed out.

The event is held annually by the Service League of Orange, which was founded in 1954. The first Toy Coffee was held in 1956 and has been going strong every year since then.

Provisional members are voted in during the January meeting.

To become a Provisional, one can accept an invitation to become a member of the Service League and if you know a member, it does not hurt to mention an interest. 

Provisionals are volunteers who are on a one-year test with the group.

Sustainers are members who have ‘retired’ from active duties within the group.

Meetings are held September through May on the first Tuesday of every month.  The meeting times are 9 a.m. for Board Meetings and 10 a.m. for the General Meetings.  Meetings are mandatory but are excused for illness, accident, or death in the immediate family.  

Toy Coffee held the first Thursday in December, Membership Coffee, usually held in January, and the Annual Luncheon held the first Thursday in May, are mandatory events.