FOR THE GREATSHIP
Last Christmas, the Marine Corps Reserve and Wiregrass Toys for Tots provided more than 13,000 toys for 2,377 children in more than 1,000 families. This year, they hope to match or exceed that number.
Marine Corps Major Bill Cox, coordinator of Wiregrass Toys for Tots, recently spoke to the Enterprise Lions Club.
Toys for Tots was founded 75 years ago by a major in the California Marine Corps. He was in the film industry and friends with Walt Disney, who was persuaded to draw the train logo for the Toys for Tots organization.
Cox reported that Wiregrass Toys for Tots covers five area counties and that it partners with 12 different agencies in those counties to bring toys to the kids each year. The goal is to serve between 2,300 and 2,600 children annually.
Interested families can call 211 to find out where to sign up in their respective counties. In Coffee County, Coffee County Family Services coordinates the application process and distributes the toys. In the five provinces, companies, agencies and organizations collect the toys – brand new and unpackaged, please – which are then taken to a central collection point at the beginning of December.
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The toys will be picked up on December 8 and brought to Dothan to be distributed in all local areas.
Toys for Tots boxes will soon be appearing in stores and businesses in the area – Enterprise alone will have 80 boxes, with 200 boxes available throughout the area.
Wiregrass Toys for Tots aims to provide three toys for each child, ranging in price from $10-$25. Smaller gifts are given as “stocking stuffer” type gifts. Most toy collections collect gifts for children up to 12 years old. There is no “approved” list of toys that will be accepted, as the organizers hope to encourage donors to choose a gift that is appropriate and welcome for a member of their family.
Last year, Petsmart donated plush toys purchased by customers so they could give many of the kids a stuffed toy for Christmas along with the other donated toys.
Cash donations are also accepted. To make a cash donation, visit thewiregrass.toysfortots.org website. Event organizers then purchase gifts to fill where they may be in need of a particular age group or type of gift.
On Saturday, November 19, the Toys for Tots drive is coming to Enterprise in a big way. A parade of motorcycles will arrive at Yancey Parker’s in Westgate Shopping Center to kick off the annual toy fundraiser.
That same day, the Marine Corps Reserve unit will line up in front of Walmart to collect toys. Cox reported that this community is generous and most people who were asked to donate toys did so.