Needy youngsters in Randolph and surrounding counties may have a cheerier Christmas this year through new toys contributed through the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and Marine Corps League Toys for Tots program.
The annual collection, spearheaded locally by Elkins' Marine Corps League's Leland D. "Crow" Crawford Detachment 956 in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, will take place Nov. 1 through Dec. 21 with drop-off points at several locations in Randolph, Barbour, Upshur, Lewis, Tucker, Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Harrison counties.
Through Dec.18, new, unwrapped toys may be placed in numerous designated Toys for Tots collection boxes in Randolph and surrounding counties, including but not limited to Kmart, CVS, Walgreens, Big Lots, Skinner Insurance, Randolph County Senior Center, Aaron's, Elkins Regional Convalescent Center, Youth Health Services and Applebee's, all in the Elkins area; at Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in Randolph and surrounding counties; at the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, Smitty's Suzuki and John Bower Auctions, all of Buckhannon; and in Harrison County at Farm Credit in Mt. Clare and Toys R Us in Bridgeport.
Families desiring assistance through the Toys for Tots program may contact local churches, the Department of Health and Human Resources, Women's Aid in Crisis, Helping Hand Clearinghouse or any Elkins Marine Corps League member.
Donated toys will be collected and sorted by Marine Corps League members. The distribution center site, located at the Elkins-Randolph County Airport and loaned to the MCL by the Elkins-Randolph County Airport Authority, will be in the airport terminal building where the passenger terminal and Veterans Affairs office are located.
Distribution to families for children ages 2-13 will be slated from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 19-21 at the Elkins airport. Eligibility to receive toys will be based on DHHR income guidelines, and families must sign up with Toys for Tots prior to distribution. Distribution will be by last name of parent or guardian on a designated date and during a specified time period.
To sign up, to make arrangements to pick up toys or for further information, families may call designated Toys for Tots phonelines at 304-636-8353 or 304-636-4365 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday from Nov. 12 through Dec. 14. No calls will be accepted after these hours or on Sundays. No deliveries of toys will be made, and all toys must be picked up at the Toys for Tots distribution site at the airport.
In 2012, more than 8,800 toys were collected locally, and the Elkins area Marine Corps League members distributed these toys to 813 families with a total of 1,856 needy children in Randolph and surrounding counties.
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit charity, is the authorized fundraising and support organization for the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The foundation's tax-exempt number is 20 3021444001. Any individual, business or corporation desiring to make a charitable donation to the Toys for Tots program may mail or make contributions to the Elkins Marine Corps League, Detachment 956, P.O. Box 852, Elkins, WV 26241. Additional information may be found online at www.toysfortots.org, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Elkins Marine Corps League at the above address. The area chairman is Roger Ware and regional co-chairmen for the Elkins Marine Corps League Toys for Tots program are Harvey Gum and Mike McRae.