October 17, 2013 --
The 2013 U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program recently kicked off its annual campaign to collect new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate children in the local community, aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The primary goal of the Toys for Tots Program is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens, according to Gunnery Sgt. Ernest Thompson, coordinator, Toys for Tots program.
The Toys for Tots program is the largest outreach program in the Department of Defense, he said.
“During the 2012 campaign, 15,000 toys were collected and $5,000 was donated to the cause,” Thompson said. “The program helped approximately 3,400 children locally.”
Local families can sign up at the Albany Salvation Army at 308 West Second Avenue in Albany, Ga., Monday through Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For additional information, call 229-435-1428.
Families desiring 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, including:
* A state issued picture identification;
* Birth certificates for all children being 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 cards for everyone in the household.
The toy distribution location for approved families is scheduled to be held Dec. 14 at the Old Belk’s Building, 144 West Broad Avenue in Albany, Ga.
This initiative began in 1947 when then-Maj. Bill Hendricks and a group of Marine reservists in Los Angeles, Calif., collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children, an effort that resulted in a nationwide campaign a year later, according to web site www.toysfortots.org.
Since its inception, the Toys for Tots national campaign distributed 469 million toys to 216 million underprivileged children, according to the 2012 Annual Report.
In 2012, Marine reservists and volunteers distributed more than 16.8 million toys to more than 7 million less fortunate children, according to the report.
Those wishing to contribute can donate a toy valued at $15 or less in a Toys for Tots bin from now through December.
Collections sites are located on base and throughout the Albany and surrounding areas.
On base, participants can find bins located at Buildings 3500 and 3700, Marine Corps Exchange, Staff Noncommissioned Officers’ Club and Officers’ Club.
Off base, Marines in dress blues will accept new, unwrapped toys as well as cash donations at various collection points including the Albany Mall, Sam’s Club, Kmart, Home Depot and Wal-Mart.
There is no cost for businesses to obtain a collection bin.
Monetary donations can be made in cash or check made out to:
Toys for Tots
Gunnery Sergeant Ernest Thompson
Building 7106 Detachment 2, Supply Company
814 Radford Boulevard, Albany, GA 31704
For more information, call Thompson at 229-639-5475 or email at email@example.com or Gunnery Sgt. Johnny Ruby, assistant coordinator, at 229-639-8787 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.