Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Peggy Hibbard of Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County
WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- This year, 1,200 kids in Waukesha County will have a merrier Christmas, thanks to the Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County.
The organization coordinates with families in need to put presents under the tree.
This week's everyday hero has been on both sides -- first as a parent in need, and now as a board member.
On a recent Friday, volunteers were very busy putting the finishing touches on the organization's Toy Shop at St. William Catholic Church in Waukesha. These aren't Santa's elves, pulling carts instead of a sleigh. But they're pretty close.
Big, red bins are all filled with toys. Thousands of presents stacked and ready for kids this Christmas.
"We've got bins and bins and bins," said board member Peggy Hibbard, pointing to the backup supplies. "Yeah, so we can keep refilling and refilling!"
Hibbard is a new board member with the Christmas Clearing Council.
"So today, I was actually, as a board member, up on the stage, which was really cool for me," she said.
Over the years, though, she's had a lot of different views of the program.
"I have been involved since 1986. That's when my first daughter was born, and we needed help," she remembered.
Hibbard knows asking for help can be nerve-wracking for parents and guardians. It's a feeling she remembers.
"Because they were going to come to my house, and we didn't have a lot," she said. "And I was kind of embarrassed."
But when parents come in and see the toy shop, that usually changes pretty quickly.
"A lot of dropped jaws," said executive director Sarah Hein. "I still walk in the first time and I'm taken back. It's the generosity of this community. It's really the best of this community."
Parents and guardians who are eligible for the program come in and select the toys for their kids.
"We have everything, from an entire Lego table to an entire Barbie table," said Hein. "We have arts and crafts."
Plus, there are books, blankets, hats and mittens.
"These, I believe, are stocking stuffers," Hibbard said, opening up a bag.
Every detail is thought of. Hibbard's grown children are now volunteering, too, to make the holidays brighter for other kids.
"It makes me feel wonderful, because so many people helped us when we were in time of need, now we're in the position where we can help others," Hibbard said.
"We just feel it's a beautiful way that her story has kind of come full circle, and we are so blessed to have her," Hein said of Hibbard.
Preparing for the toy shop is a year-round effort. Parents and guardians can apply about 10 weeks before.
For more information, go to www.christmasclearingcouncil.org.
If you'd like to nominate an everyday hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected].