News: Toys for Tots launches as the holiday season approaches
Story by Lance Cpl. Marcin Platek
NEW ORLEANS – As Halloween decorations come down, some stores start preparing for Christmas early. From sales to giveaways, Christmas fever is spreading. For the Marines it means something else: there are toys to be collected.
Thirty-five Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Support Facility here collected donations for the Toys for Tots program, Nov. 3-4, at three different stores in the New Orleans area.
The two-day campaign was a kick-off event for the 2012 holiday season, said Gunnery Sgt. Jimmy Cosby Jr., the pay deck staff non-commissioned officer for the Marine Forces Reserve disbursing office. The event happened simultaneously at Toys R Us locations in Metairie, La., and Slidell, La., and also at Babies R Us in Metairie.
Cosby, the coordinator for the event, said the Marines collected five boxes of toys and about $300 in cash donations. The Toys R Us in Metairie, being the event host and a sponsor for Toys for Tots, donated $1,400 toward a shopping spree that Marines undertook Nov. 4 at the store.
The result was three carts full of toys for the children, said Cosby, who was one of the Marines who shopped for toys during the spree.
“Last year we collected and bought over 24,000 toys to pass out to the kids in New Orleans and this year we’re hoping to surpass that and make it an even more successful event,” he said.
The event was the first of many scheduled for the New Orleans area.
According to Cosby, Toys for Tots is working with the Zephers, Saints, Coca-cola, several communities of metropolitan New Orleans, and different oil companies of the city.
“We’re trying to make it a big deal this year,” he said.
The collected toys are distributed throughout the area to places that inquire for them, said Cosby. Many churches and community centers are responsible for distributing the collected toys to the children.
“I already see what exactly it’s doing for the community,” said Cosby. “The ‘thank you’s’ that we already got from the community let us know what an actual big impact it has on the community of New Orleans.”
Marine Forces Reserve started the Toys for Tots program in 1947 and has been providing toys for kids ever since. Toy drop-off locations are available in many stores throughout the city and two boxes in the Marine Corps Support Facility here. Further assistance or toy requests can be found on the Toys for Tots website (www.toysfortots.org) or by reaching Cosby at (504)-697-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toys for Tots is a national program with toy drop-off boxes located all over the United States. The donated toys are given to local children of the 183 communities where Reserve units are located. In communities where there are no Reserve units present, the Toys for Tots Foundation authorizes the local campaign to be ran by a Marine Corps League Detachment or a group of veterans. A wide range of events, such as this one, take place nationally to collect toys and other donations.