Santa Claus visited the Moniteau County Sheriff's Office early this year.
The "Santa Claus" was Dollar General, which donated 200-250 toys to the office, which in turn donated the toys to the California Ministerial Alliance. From the churches in the alliance, the toys will find their way to children.
Moniteau County Sheriff Tony Wheatley said his office forwarded the toys to the alliance because of its ability to distribute the toys.
"We just didn't have a good outlet to get rid of them ourselves -- to distribute them -- so we figured the next best thing would be to reach out to the ministerial alliance, who has all the contacts in the community and they would know the best homes for the toys," he said.
The Rev. Russell Cobb, a representative with the alliance and pastor at United Church of Christ of California, said five churches -- New Life Christian Center, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, First United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ of California and Salem United Church of Christ -- have each picked up two boxes of toys to distribute. He notified other churches of the donation, but only Annunciation Catholic Church has responded with interest.
One of the alliance churches, Cobb said, which is handling monthly requests for lodging and food and utility assistance, will make toys available to families with children.
"Other churches with boxes of toys will distribute (the toys) through their ministries," Cobb said. "Any toys not distributed now will be distributed at Christmas time."
Cobb said he has also contacted area nonprofits and schools to see if any were interested in distributing any of the toys.
Wheatley said he was unsure about why the donation was made, but believes it was surplus inventory. Attempts to contact Dollar General corporate for further information were unsuccessful.