With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the annual Marine Toys for Tots toy drive that is put on every year at various locations throughout the state.
The goal is, and has always been, to give low-income families the magical Christmas that every child deserves. This year, like decades before, New Opportunities in Perry will be setting up donation boxes at its office, Alco, Ben Franklin and some local churches.
“We’re looking for donations and volunteers, because we would like to help over 100 families this year, which include about 300 children,” says Brandi Valdez, Family Development Center aide.
The toys are set to be distributed on Friday, Dec. 7. The deadline to donate is Monday, Dec. 3, which is coming up faster than it seems.
Toys for Tots is a proud tradition for all involved, and a joyous one of the families it serves. The first toy ever donated was a handmade doll, and more 5,000 toys were given during the first campaign. Founded in 1947 by Col. William L. Hendricks of the U.S. Marine Corps. in Los Angeles, Calif., the generous contagion has spread its arms around the nation for more than 60 years. According to the foundation’s website, Toys for Tots has distributed 16 million presents to more than 7 million children since its inception.
The foundation has expanded nationwide and continues to grow every year, gaining new sponsors and friends with every campaign. This year, Build-A-Bear, Scholastic, Hasbro, Toys R Us, Babies R Us and the UPS store will be sponsoring Toys for Tots, according to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation website.
The Dallas County Family Development Center is also uniting behind the cause. It serves income-eligible residents in Dallas County and is the center for information, application and referral for all of the income eligible programs offered by New Opportunities, Inc. For more information about the Toys for Tots drive or other events happening at New Opportunities, visit the website at www.newopp.org, contact the Perry location at (515) 465-5185, or stop by at 2814 First St.