October 8, 2015 --
For most children, and even some adults, it might be hard to go to sleep Christmas Eve due to the excitement and anticipation of opening presents Christmas morning.
Unfortunately, there are some children throughout Albany, Georgia, and the surrounding area who may not get to share that same excitement because they may not have a present to open.
Gunnery Sgt. Jimmie Smith, coordinator, Toys for Tots, is hoping to change that this holiday season.
“The purpose of the program, along with the community’s help, is to make sure every child has a toy (who) would not normally have a Christmas,” Smith said.
More than 6,500 toys were collected during the 2014 campaign here and the goal for 2015 is 7,000 or more, Smith said.
Smith’s vision is for every child in the local community to experience the “wow” factor Christmas morning.
“I want every child to wake up Christmas morning and be like ‘wow’ with smiles on their faces because they have toys under their trees,” he said.
Smith emphasized he knows personally how it feels not to have a present to open on Christmas morning.
“I think no child should wake up Christmas morning and not have a toy,” he said. “I want to use the Toys for Tots program to spread Christmas spirit and cheer.”
Individuals or families wanting to contribute to the program can donate a toy valued at $15 now through Dec. 4.
Collections sites are located around the base and throughout Albany and the surrounding communities.
Those wishing to donate can put their toys in bins located around the installation at buildings 3500 and 3700, the Marine Corps Exchange and Navy Federal Credit Union.
Off base, Marines in dress blues will accept new, unwrapped toys as well as cash donations at various collection points including the Albany Mall, Wal-Mart in Albany and Toys R Us.
According to Smith, there is no cost for businesses to obtain collection bins.
Local families who wish to be considered for the Toys for Tots Program can sign up at the Albany Salvation Army, 304 West Second Ave., in Albany.
They should use the side door and sign up between Oct. 26-30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more 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, including:
* 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
The Toys for Tots program is staffed by Marine reservists assigned to Detachment 2, Combat Logistics Battalion-453, here.
For more information about the Toys for Tots Program visit the website, www.toysfortots.org/about_toys_for_tots/toys_for_tots_foundation/annual_reports/default.aspx
or how to contribute, call Smith at 229-639-8787 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org