The 71st annual Toys for Tots officially kicks off its campaign, October 1, aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Toys for Tots is the largest Department of Defense outreach program and serves as a platform for the Marine Corps and the local community to provide toys for underprivileged children in Southwest Georgia.
The Toys for Tots Program is a combined effort among the Marine Corps Reserves, local businesses, and the Salvation Army to ensure less fortunate children have presents to open on Christmas. Last year, the joint effort collected more than 48,000 toys and raised approximately $9,000 in Southwest Georgia. These generous donations made it possible to help more than 4,000 children in the local area.
According to Staff Sgt. Ellese Lawrence, Toys for Tots Coordinator, the Marine Corps has defended freedom and democracy since 1775 – a duty Marines have fulfilled with honor, courage and commitment. Marines have earned a well-deserved reputation for toughness and roughness.
“But there is another side to the Marines – a side that springs from a genuine concern for the communities that surround the installation,” Lawrence explained. “It exemplifies the esprit de Corps, and it’s found in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.”
This year, Lawrence will be teaming up with local businesses to display official Toys for Tots bins in and around the Greater Albany area and in high traffic areas on the installation. Lawrence encourages everyone to get involved and donate an unwrapped toy between $10 and $15 – for both boys and girls – from infant to 14 years old.
“We know from the smiles on the faces of the children all across this region that your generous donations are very much appreciated,” Lawrence added, “a simple gift of a shiny new toy is something many of us take for granted; however, it makes a tremendous difference in the life of a child.”
The Albany Salvation Army will handle the family registration process and will work with Lawrence to distribute toys closer to the Christmas holiday. The campaign will run from October 1 to December 15th. For more information regarding upcoming events and donation sites, or to sign up to become a sponsor for a donation site, please visit www.albany-ga.toysfortots.org.