As a local coordinator with Toys for Tots, Carmen Jones strongly believes that “Every Child Deserves a Toy for Christmas.”
The organization is currently working to make that happen, with its drive for the season. Jones said the goal is to increase donations every year. Last year, more than 1,000 children were served.
“We feel great about it,” Jones said. “We get joy out of seeing the kids happy.”
The program is operated trough the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Its mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys to less fortunate children. It started in 1947 when the late Major Bill Hendricks and a group of Marines Reservists distributed more than 5,000 toys to needy children in Los Angeles. The idea was suggested by his wife, Diane Hendricks. Since then, more than 530 million toys have been donated millions of children.
Before the holiday season, Jones and other volunteers started collection efforts by raising awareness about the organization. One the events was the “Gospel Concerts in the Park” in Roseboro. The spring event attracted many visitors, who brought toys for the holiday season.
“Right now, we’re just reaching out to different businesses,” Jones said. “We need businesses to come on board and support with donations.”
Jones said volunteers are having a hard time with getting gifts, such as bicycles, for older children in the age range of 9 to 13.
“We’re having trouble with them because everyone is catering to the younger kids,” Jones said.
Several drop-off locations for new and unwrapped toys are available for the public during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday: All Nations Deliverance Church, 101 SE Railroad St., Roseboro; Performance Ford, 213 Southeast Blvd., Clinton; Performance Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, 605 Warsaw Road, Clinton; Town Hall Annex/Visitors Center (Old Southern Bank building), 96 Ingold Ave., Garland.
Another mission of the organization is to collect books to distribute for the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, which provides reading material to economically disadvantaged children.
In addition to toys and books, the local branch of the program is also accepting monetary donations. For more information about the donation process, visit https://goo.gl/93fqHi
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.