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Toys for Tots collection under way

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By Angela Rutledge

Faith Miller of LaRue County Community Action has been busy with an assortment of duties – the backpack program, senior commodities, utility and rental assistance, food and clothing bank, but now there is another chore on her list – Toys for Tots.

This will be the first year that LCCA is placing donation boxes in local businesses to collect new toys so children in the surrounding area can have a merry Christmas.

Miller, LaRue County Toys for Tots chairwoman, has placed boxes at Bank of Buffalo, Lincoln National Bank, Pamida and IGA. She is accepting donations at Community Action during normal business hours and online monetary donations can be made on the Toys for Tots Web site.

In 2007, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve provided all of the donated toys in the LaRue County area and based on the need, it wasn’t quite enough, according to Miller.

This year, she hopes “that there will be more toys to give to the children of LaRue County (because) we are asking for a little help from the community.”

Since there are no local sponsors, community donations will be critical for LaRue County Toys for Tots.

The Toys for Tots is unique because recipients will be chosen based on parental income. Miller wants people to know “that we are not just handing toys out to families that don’t need the service, we do verify income and need.”

Miller says it’s important that the community remembers that “all the toys are given out to the children right here in LaRue County and that without programs like Toys for Tots and Christmas Blessings some children might not have a Christmas.”

The toys that are collected through Dec. 22 will be given to local children from birth to age 13. The donations should be any age appropriate, unwrapped, new toy.

Why a new toy?

The Marines began giving refurbished toys in 1948, but decided that doing so did “not send the message Marines want to send to needy children.” The goal of Toys for Tots is to “deliver a message of hope, which will build self-esteem and, in turn, motivate needy children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.”

The Marines decided that the best way to accomplish that was to give needy children shiny new toys at Christmastime.

According to its Web site, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve has “distributed more than 370 million toys to more than 173 million needy children” through the Toys for Tots program. Additionally, the program’s success greatly depends on the community, local businesses that house the boxes and the generosity of the people who donate.

Considering the state of our economy, charitable giving may face an all-time low.

Unaware of this situation, many good little boys and girls will be depending on donated gifts for their Merry Christmas.