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A Collinsville staple helps a neighboring community

By Devese “Dee” Ursery

COLLINSVILLE —It’s that time of the year again, when Shane Giger and his Sandwich Shop contribute to an amazing cause of giving.

Giger, a Collinsville resident by way of Fairmont City, and owner of the Collinsville Sandwich Shop spent the Thanksgiving holiday hosting a toy drive to donate to the Fairmont City Fire  Department. Robert Allen Jr., Chief of the Fairmont City Fire Department for over 44 years of service is a stand up guy who cares about his community, according to Giger.

Giger said he started the toy drive in 2019, the year he bought the building. He began contributing to the Fairmont City Toy Drive as a way of giving back to the community from   whence he came.  He said that giving back to where he came from is very important to him.

According to Giger, after the toy drive Allen and the fire department crew, accompanied with over 100 volunteers, help to collect the toys every year.

“Our community is very tight knit and our support from businesses in town proves that every day,” Allen said. “Many people have Christmas every day,but there are many that don’t. We try to make it happen.”

Giger spoke on the beginning of the toy drive as well as his friendship with Allen and how he is such a pillar of his community.

“The toy drive is something I did during my first year opening in 2019. I lived in Fairmont City for about 10 years before moving to Maryville,” Giger said.  “I met Bobby Allen through a lot of the volunteer work he was doing throughout the community. He helped keep people in their homes by making sure people’s heat stayed on, he’s just a really good dude. Since that first encounter we’ve always had a good friendship with him.”

Giger said his desire to give back stems from growing up poor, as he described it.

“I mean there were a couple of times where I remember living in the projects or I remember my dad being a construction worker and just having a tough time a lot of the time,” Giger said.

“When times were good they were good! But, when they were rough, they were rough and I just remember people, as a kid, I saw how people would help out, whether it was from the church, the community.”

Giger recalls as a kid, seeing how people would help out, whether it was from the church or the community. He recounts growing up off of Portland Street in Collinsville and times they had to do without electricity or food was scarce, but he remembers seeing people help, so he thought it was just the right thing to do.

“I remember having one of the best Christmases I ever had living in Northgate projects across from National (grocery store) in Collinsville,” Giger said. “It was a huge Christmas, full of presents and I knew we had gotten help.”

According to Giger, It felt strange because growing up with his father,  when he was doing good and working a lot with Laborers Local 44, he would donate and try to help out as well, so it was sort of a give and take.

Allen spoke highly of Giger and his charitable contributions to a place where he once called home.

“It shows that when someone leaves a town for another town they still hold Fairmont City in their heart and are willing to still help their residents,” Allen said. “Shane used to live in Fairmont City and I’ve known him for many years. He has always been a person to step up to the plate and help someone in need and that continues today!”

Giger also mentions the help and support that he gets from his staff and Collinsville community.

“We have a little lady named Evelyn, who’s 94 years old and she comes in to wait tables. The last five years she’s been waitressing and donates the money she makes to Bobby Allen’s Toy Drive,” Giger said, “Evelyn helps every year. It’s just funny, she’s 94-years old and seeing her going and waiting tables, it draws attention towards the toy drive and anybody that tips her she takes that money and donate it as well. She didn’t have as big a year as she did last year, but she made $40 and  she donated it.”

A lot of people are suffering. A lot of people are going through tough times and stuff, Giger said.

“I believe in Karma, so if you can help, why not,” Giger said. “Tomorrow I could lose everything and be right back, but I feel like if I was, people would help me.”

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