The annual Toys for Tots campaign officially kicked off Nov. 19 at the Oakhurst True Value Home Center with 345 toys and more than $400 being donated to the toy drive.
Eastern Madera County Toys For Tots Coordinator Dennis Osantowski called the event a DO GOOD affair - “This was a Donate One, Get One Other Donated day. For every donation brought in or purchased in True Value, the store matched the donation with another toy doubling the donation to Toys for Tots.”
The Marine Corps League Detachment No. 1121 was at True Value with 15 volunteers, assisted by Yosemite High senior Tori Rich, California Highway Patrol Information Officer Kaci Lutz and three CHP citizen volunteers.
Teri Blea and nine of her Troop 3041 Girl Scouts donated their toy contributions and ably assisted with sorting all the toys collected at the kick off event. The girls learned more about the Toys for Tots campaign, its origins dating back to 1947 and its importance to provide needy children with a new toy for Christmas.
“Although this year’s toy drive seems to be getting off to a slower start than previous years, there is plenty of time to make your donation of a new, unwrapped toy in any of the toy collection boxes throughout the mountain area,” Osantowski said.
Toy Round Up Saturday
The next event will be the big Toy Round Up this Saturday in the Old Mill Shopping Center (Von’s) near the post office with a second toy collection event being held Saturday in the Coarsegold Historic Village. Both locations will collect toys and donations from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m..
The two locations will have displays of military vehicles and or classic cars from the Road Rattlers Car Club, Madera County Search and Rescue Off Highway vehicles, Cal Fire firetrucks and CHP cruisers. Four Marines from NAS Lemoore also be attending and will bring a 7-ton USMC truck and a wrecker.
“Lots of volunteers from all over the Mountain Area will come together to support Toys For Tots on Dec. 3, and we are looking for a lot of donations from the community,” Osantowski said. “All monetary donations and toys stay in the Mountain Area to benefit needy children and to assure they are not forgotten and that they share in the spirit and magic of Christmas.”