When Dave Cavanaugh found out almost 2,000 Columbus children would not have a toy to unwrap on Christmas, he decided to do something about it.

When Dave Cavanaugh found out almost 2,000 Columbus children would not have a toy to unwrap on Christmas, he decided to do something about it.

The Dublin resident sent out e-mail calls for help last week after reading in The Columbus Dispatch that 1,865 children would not get a present through the Christmas Care One New Toy program at the St. Stephen's Community House because of increased demand this year.

"Everybody is so busy these days. You always want to do something good, but you don't figure out a way or you forget about it until you're in bed," he said.

By e-mailing people in his Amberleigh North neighborhood and the local Knights of Columbus, Cavanaugh figured people might purchase a toy and drop it off at his home over the weekend, despite the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

"I said to my family it would be great to get 100 (toys). In my heart I was hoping for 200," he said.

The response over the weekend and into the first part of the week exceeded Cavanaugh's expectations.

"It's a moving number," he said Monday morning. "As of last night we had 341 toys."

Cavanaugh delivered toys until Tuesday's deadline.

"The second wave of the tsunami has hit. I'm getting calls from people I don't know, asking if they can drop off a toy," he said. "It's great."

When Cavanaugh and his family dropped off the first round of toys Sunday night, the people at St. Stephen's were happy for the help.

"Yesterday, I took two loads of toys and I have a Yukon XL," he said Monday. "They couldn't believe it when I showed up. My wife, Kathy, and daughter, Brianna went. Renea Williams, who is in charge down there, immediately put them to work."

Cavanaugh said he was extremely pleased that his "impulsive" decision to collect toys worked out so well. He also hopes it shows people that they can make a difference.

"I just want to thank my family and all my friends in Dublin who have responded to a need that is this year greater than it's ever been. A lot of people, including us in Dublin, could be without a job tomorrow," he said. "I'm glad everyone realized we need to take care of one another."

Williams said St. Stephen's was extremely grateful for the help of Cavanaugh and his family.

"It was very special because in addition to providing another surge of gifts, his family had a chance to see firsthand the families they support," she said.

St. Stephen's Community House provides myriad community services to people in the Linden area. For more information on the organization, look online at saintstephensch.org.