Marines collect toys for local children
By Corey Davis
Monday, November 28, 2016
With families in Eastern North Carolina impacted or displaced by Hurricane Matthew, the local Marine Corps Reserve running the Toys for Tots program is hoping more than ever children covered under its jurisdiction of Nash, Wilson, Edgecombe and Wayne counties will receive toys for Christmas.
Toys for Tots is regarded as the U.S. Marine Corps’ premier community action program. The mission of Toys for Tots is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys to disadvantaged children in the community where the campaign is conducted.
The Cpl. Suzi Detachment 1262 is the local chapter of the Marine Corps Reserve headquartered in Rocky Mount. First-year Toys for Tots Coordinator David Evans said there are more than 10,000 toys being housed at an old warehouse building at 1081 S. Wesleyan Blvd.
“We’re probably going to have twice that many by next month,” Evans said. “We have a lot of toy companies that help support this program. Toys for Tots is the most charitable organization because for every dollar that is donated, 97 percent of every dollar goes to a toy.”
Though the local Marine Corps Reserve’s primary areas are Nash and Wilson counties, this year it’s supporting Edgecombe and Wayne counties, which were two of the counties largely affected by Hurricane Matthew. Evans said there are more than 50 Toys for Tots drop-off locations in Nash County at different area businesses, while Edgecombe County is supported by the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which conducts Toys for Tots campaigns in communities without a local Marine Reserve unit.
The toys given to boys and girls go up to age 15 and consist of a child receiving one to two toys with a book and stocking stuffer, Evans said. In some cases, if the Marine Corps Reserve receives an excessive amount of toys, a child could wind up with two or three toys, he added.
“People always ask how do we do this, and we tell them it’s through volunteers and money donations,” Evans said. “It’s amazing when people see the Marine Corp Reserve Toys for Tots program how generous they give. There was a local woman that donated over $700 worth of toys.”
Evans said there is no reason why any child should be deprived of having a toy to play with on Christmas. Parents are urge to call Evans at 910-787-2413 to set up a date to pick up toys for their children. Toys for Tots will run up until Christmas Eve. The local Marine Corp Reserve conducts a screening for parents coming to get toys.
“There is no reason in the world for some kid to wake up on Christmas’ morning without a toy,” he said. “It’s unacceptable, and it’s not going to happen in my counties, anyway.”