DENVER—Toys for Tots is getting some help this Christmas.
According to spokeswoman Ann Reep, Toys for Tots recently secured the use of the Lincolnton headquarters of the National Guard Armoury as a collection, packaging and distribution point for donated toys.
Reep, of Lincolnton, is co-ordinating the group’s efforts for Lincoln County, and friend Sherry Trevino is assisting. Reep thanked Sgt. Harris of the National Guard for help in making the use of the building possible. She added that donors could bring new, unwrapped toys to the National Guard’s local HQ between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Toys for Tots is an annual outreach effort by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. It began in 1947, when Bill Hendricks, then a major in the Corps, got the idea from his wife, Diane. Hendricks, who later retired as a colonel, and a group of his fellow Los Angeles-area Reservists collected some 5,000 toys for needy Californian kids that year.
In the ensuing six and a half decades, Toys for Tots, now a nationwide initiative, has given some 209 million children 452 million toys, as Reep pointed out.
She was also grateful to the members of the National Guard for their part in this worthy cause.
“It’s simply wonderful!” she enthused. “They’ve given us a huge room for bagging toys and bringing them in. It’s outstanding.”
Big Lots, Wal-Mart and other retail giants are making a difference. Reep said the Dollar General in High Shoals recently donated 800 toys—more than half the 1,500 raised so far. Children are slated to get five toys each, she added, and Toys for Tots already has 350 local families signed up.
Going out to buy Christmas gifts? Well, says, Reep, if you would buy an extra toy or a gift for a teen and then put that into a box, you could truly make a difference for someone needy this year.
And Reep reminded that charity begins at home.
“We have to take care of our families and friends in our own backyard,” she said. “And we need toys desperately!”
This Sunday (Nov. 18), members of local motorcycle groups will meet at the Open-Road Riders facility on NC 16 in Denver for their annual Toys for Tots Toy Run. Registration begins at 10 a.m., and the ride follows at 1 p.m., said Reep. To learn more, call (704)609-5434 or (704)489-1100.
Want to help Toys for Tots? Reep encourages you to call her at (828)994-7224 or see the Website (where you can also make local donations, and the money stays in Lincoln County) at www.toysfortots.org.