Thanksgiving has arrived and with it the holiday season, a time to reflect on the gifts in our lives and how we can share them with others.

The Daily Times seeks to help in that spirit. 

A Christmas toy for a child, a holiday dinner for a family in need. Those are the goals of the second annual Pekin Times Holiday Drive.

“We wanted to do something that was focused on our community,” said Jennifer Otey, the newspaper’s office manager who helped launch the drive.

Like many new endeavors that need to grow community involvement, however, the drive has started slowly this year since it was announced early this month.

“We don’t have enough donations yet for one food basket,” Otey said. “We’ve had no toy donations at all.”

To spur the effort, two sponsors are offering rewards. 

Kouri’s Pub and Velde Auto Sales have provided gift certificates available through a drawing for people who donate to the drive. Kouri’s has donated four $20 gift certificates, and two free oil changes are available from Velde, Otey said.

To enter the drawing, donors can come to the Daily Times at 306 Court St. with canned foods for food baskets, a new unwrapped toy or both. The Times will pick the items up at donors’ homes if they can’t or prefer not to travel.

The Times also seeks letters from area residents who wish to nominate families that need help through the drive. It asks for the families’ contact information and an explanation for why they could use a holiday donation. All nominations will be reviewed by a panel of Times employees, who will select families based on need as well as the amount of donations received.

Donations and family nominations will be accepted through Dec. 18. Selected families will receive their gifts two days later.

“The more donations we receive, the more families we can help,” Otey said.

The Times will post updates on its donations received as Christmas approaches.

The Pekin Daily Times can be contacted at 346-1111, and updates will be posted online at www.pekintimes.com.

Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin