THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - Needy youngsters in Randolph and surrounding counties may have a cheerier Christmas this year through new toys from the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and Marine Corps League Toys for Tots program, which is underway again this year.
The annual collection, spearheaded locally by Elkins’ Marine Corps League Leland D. “Crow” Crawford Detachment 956 in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, will take place through Dec. 21 with drop-off points at several locations in Randolph, Barbour, Lewis, Tucker and Upshur counties and some areas in Harrison, Greenbrier, Pocahontas and Webster counties.
In 2016, more than 14,000 toys were collected locally, and the Elkins area Marine Corps League members distributed these toys to 1,003 families with a total of 2,014 needy children in Randolph and surrounding counties. Local business leaders play a key role by allowing Toys for Tots collection boxes in their stores and by encouraging customers to purchase toys for the program; by providing free warehouse space for sorting and storing toys; by providing vehicles to collect toys from collection sites; and by sponsoring promotional events for the Toys for Tots program.
Through Dec. 18, new, unwrapped toys may be placed in numerous designated Toys for Tots collection boxes in Randolph and surrounding counties including, but not limited to, all three Elkins Dollar General stores; Dollar General stores in Beverly, Buckhannon, Weston, Jane Lew, Belington and Philippi; Pack ‘N Ship in Elkins; Bill Umbright’s State Farm office; Jodie Parrack’s State Farm office; Skinner Insurance; Elkins Purple Majesties-Red Hat Society; Catholic Charities West Virginia; Landmark Baptist Church; Refuge Church; Applebee’s of Elkins; Randolph County Senior Center; Youth Health Services of Elkins; Smitty’s Suzuki of Buckhannon; Larry Brown of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3663 of Buckhannon; Fisher Auto Parts in Buckhannon; Farm Credit & Country Mortgages in Mt. Clare; Buckhannon Wing Co. LLC; Toys R Us in Bridgeport, John Bowers in Parsons; H & M Motor Co. in Weston; Kiddy Monument in Weston; Buckhannon Academy; Robert L. Bland Middle School in Weston; and Debbie Larkin and Davis & Elkins College Student Veterans Association.
Canaan Valley Resort Golf Course has a promotional event in which golfing professional Bob Birosek at 304-866-4122 will give a 15-minute free golf lesson to anyone who brings in a new toy during the promotional period.
Applications for eligible families wanting toys will be taken by telephone from Nov. 13 through Dec. 11. Families who have been approved to receive toys this Christmas from other area toy programs including Salvation Army, Helping Hand Clearinghouse, Tyrand Cooperative Ministries and any Angel Tree programs will not be eligible to receive toys through Toys for Tots. No internet applications will be accepted.
Families desiring assistance through the Toys for Tots program may contact local churches, Department of Health and Human Resources, Women’s Aid in Crisis, Helping Hand Clearinghouse, Parish House, Catholic Charities West Virginia and Angel Tree programs or any Elkins Marine Corps League member.
Donated toys will be collected and sorted by Elkins Marine Corps League members. The distribution center will be the building between the Armed Forces Career Center and the New Start Thrift Shop in the Tygart Valley Mall in Elkins.
Distribution to families with children ages 2 to 13 will be slated from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 20-21 at the Elkins distribution site. Eligibility to receive toys will be based on DHHR income guidelines, and families must sign up with Toys for Tots prior to distribution. Distribution dates and times will be assigned to families based on the first letter of the last name of parent or guardian.
To register, to make arrangements to pick up toys or for further information, families may call designated Toys for Tots phone lines at 304-472-7083, 304-704-8062, 304-636-4365 or 304-704-5758 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays from Nov. 13 through Dec. 11. No calls will be accepted after these hours or on Sundays.
No toys will be delivered; all toys must be picked up at the Toys for Tots distribution site in Elkins.
The Toys for Tots Foundation, based in Quantico, Virginia, is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt nonprofit charity and the authorized fundraising and support organization for the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
The foundation’s tax-exempt number is 20 3021444001. Any individual, business or corporation desiring to make a charitable donation to the Toys for Tots Program may mail or make contributions to the Elkins Marine Corps League, Detachment 956, P.O. Box 852, Elkins, WV 26241, telephone 304-636-4365. EIN: 55 0765160. Additional information may be found online at www.toysfortots.org, or by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Elkins Marine Corps League at the above address.
The regional chairman is Roger Ware. Greg Irwin and Roy Wood are the co-chairmen for all counties except Upshur and Lewis, where Larry Brown will serve as co-chairman. The Elkins Marine Corps League Toys for Tots program has been approved by the Toys for Tots Foundation.