Marine’s annual ’Toys for Tots’ drive is in full swing

Saturday is last day for recipients to sign up

Ann Cousineau

Marine’s annual ’Toys for Tots’ drive is in full swingTime is running out for families to sign up to receive gifts from Toys for Tots, but it’s not too late to join in the fun of giving toys to less fortunate children in Ridgecrest.

Momentum is high supporting the Toys for Tots effort to gather as many toys as possible before the give-away day on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Several businesses around town have collection boxes for new, unwrapped toys. Funds are also solicited to buy more for children in the Ridgecrest community.

“This is the last week for Toys for Tots sign-ups,” said U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Brandon Steward, Toys for Tots coordinator for Ridgecrest.

Those seeking children’s gifts from Toys for Tots this year must sign up at the Salvation Army, 151 N. Downs St., by Saturday, Dec. 8.

A spokesperson for the Salvation Army said that the remaining hours for Toys for Tots sign-ups are 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday.

Toy pick-up day will be Saturday, Dec. 15, in Mesquite Hall at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds.

Steward, who has been involved with Toys for Tots in the Ridgecrest area for a few years now, said on Monday that he was excited with results so far this season.

“We’re doing great! I believe this could be the best year since I started a few years ago. It’s amazing!

“We’ve had lots of donations, including a 200-toy donation from the Harley Owners Group of Ridgecrest in November.

“Also, the High Desert Road-runners car club just donated 100 toys and more than $1,000. This is great!”

Toy donation boxes are at the following locations: Gateway School, Las Flores School, Richmond School, Ridgecrest Gymnastics Academy, Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Kmart, the Pizza Factory, Casey’s, Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union, Carriage Inn, Walgreen’s, McDonald’s, Toyota of Ridgecrest, Big Lots, SpringHill Suites, Walmart and the Navy Exchange.

Col. William L. Hendricks, USMC (Ret.) began the Toys for Tots program in 1947. “The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens,” says the website.

“ The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.”

For more information about local Toys for Tots activities, call Steward at 419-295-2253 or e-mail him at bstewart0331@gmail.com. More information, including the history of the Toys for Tots program, can be found at www.toysfortots.org.

Story First Published: 2012-12-05