News: Toys for Tots increases 2011 goal
Story by Nathan Hanks
ALBANY, Georgia - Even though the 2011 Toys for Tots Program at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany participated in a public kickoff with the Salvation Army and arrival of Santa at the Albany Mall, Nov. 18, it officially launched its campaign with a press conference here, Oct. 21.
“We are collecting toys for less fortunate children who live in Albany and surrounding counties,” Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth Starkey, Toys for Tots Coordinator, said. “Our goal this year is to serve 7,500 children and some of our collection boxes are located around the base, in the community at Walmart, Toys R Us, the Albany Mall and several other businesses organizations and churches.”
Starkey said last year, the Marine reservists distributed 40,000 toys to more than 7,000 children and they wanted to increase that number this year due to the economy and need.
“We are hoping to collect at least 42,000 toys this year,” he said. “We are currently down on toys, but expect to increase our numbers collected with various planned events in the coming weeks. Our hardest group to collect for is girls, ages 8-12. “We are going to keep pushing toward our goal and hope the community comes out to support us.”
Starkey said a few of the events they have planned are “stuff the truck” scheduled today through Saturday from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Ledo Road Walmart, a golf tournament at River Pointe Golf Club on Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m., and at the Albany Marine Band’s Christmas concert at the Darton College auditorium Wednesday at 7 p.m. Other events will be announced later.
“We are asking the community to donate a new, unwrapped toy for a boy or girl, valued at $15 or less,” he said. “If individuals do not have time to shop for a toy, we also accept cash and checks. All toys collected are distributed locally and all monetary donations received will be used to purchase toys from local retailers.”
Hospital Corpsman Lennox Bennett, assistant Toys for Tots coordinator, said these upcoming events are important to support the more than 7,500 children signed up in Albany and other communities for the program.
“It is important for us to get our faces and our cause out in the community so we can reach our goal,” he said.
According to the website, www.toysfortots.org, Toys for Tots began in 1947 and is the largest community outreach program in the Department of Defense. Organized and run by the Marine reservists, it has helped underprivileged children throughout the United States by collecting new, unwrapped toys and distributing them as Christmas gifts.
For more information on the Toys for Tots Program or to request a collection box, call (229) 639-8787.