MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
The Southwest Georgia Toys for Tots Program kicked off its annual campaign to collect new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate children in the local community, aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Oct. 4.
Petty Officer 1st Class Taylor Cossins, coordinator, Toys for Tots, gave an overview of the program.
“Since 1775, the Marine Corps has defended freedom and democracy -- a duty they have fulfilled with honor, courage and commitment,” Cossins said. “As they have fulfilled that duty, Marines have earned a well-deserved reputation for toughness.
“But there is another side to the Marines - the side that springs from a genuine concern for the communities in which they live, and a deep compassion for the under-privileged children of America,” he added. “That is the side that exemplifies the spirit of the Marine Corps. That side is found in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program."
Cossins explained the program started in 1947 when “a group of Marines recognized a need in this country and found a way to fill it -- that way was Toys for Tots.”
Closer to home, he expressed how local partnerships are critical to a successful campaign.
“The Toys for Tots Campaign is a combined effort among the Marine Corps Reserves, local businesses and the Salvation Army to ensure that less fortunate children have a Christmas this year,” he said. “Last year alone, our joint effort collected more than 48,000 toys and raised more than $9,000 in the local area. “These generous donations made it possible for us to help more than 4,000 children in Southwest Georgia, which is a significant impact.”
Cossins said his plan is to work with local businesses to display official Toys for Tots bins in and around the Albany area.
“We will also keep the community informed regarding Toys for Tots events and other opportunities for them to make donations,” he said. “We encourage everyone in our community to get engaged this year and donate a (new) unwrapped toy (valued) between $10 and $15 for both boys and girls from infant to 12 years old.
“We know from the smiles on children’s faces and from the grateful appreciation of their parents, that a simple gift of a shiny new toy -- something that many take for granted -- can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child,” he continued. “Hope is the key, and hope is what the Marine Corps Reserve is giving to needy children of America through the Toys for Tots Program.”
Cossins said the Albany Salvation Army will handle the family registration process and will work with the Marines to distribute toys closer to the Christmas holiday.
According to the Toys for Tots coordinator, local families can sign up at the Albany Salvation Army, 304 West Second Avenue, Albany, Georgia, Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, and Nov. 6 through Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. For additional information, call 229-435-1428, extension 14.
Families wanting to participate in the program are expected to meet certain criteria.
Below are several documents families will need to bring with them when they sign up for Toys for Tots:
* State-issued picture identification
* Birth certificates for all children applied for
* A current food stamp summary in the guardian’s name
* Current rent receipt and utility bill, both in the guardian’s name
* Verification of all household income
* Social Security and Medicare cards for everyone in the household
Cossins also thanked retired Gunnery Sergeant Jimmie Smith, former coordinator, Toys for Tots Program, for his dedication and superb leadership which led to the success last year.
For more information regarding upcoming local events and donation sites, or to sign up to become a sponsor for a donation site, visit: www.albany-ga.toysfortots.org/.
To contribute or receive more information about the Toys for Tots program, call 229-639-6584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.