Toys ready to go to tots: 2011 Toys for Tots campaign almost ready for holidayWith Christmas around the corner, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in Jamestown is picking up steam and getting ready for the final push before the 2011 campaign comes to an end.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
With Christmas around the corner, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in Jamestown is picking up steam and getting ready for the final push before the 2011 campaign comes to an end.
Toys for Tots, which Sheila Ova has run in Jamestown for four years, has been dependent on help from local businesses and individuals.
Last year the program helped 214 children in 87 families, with the leftover toys going to Safe Shelter for displaced children.
This year there are 17 drop sites around Jamestown. Other businesses donate help like transportation and storage of toys. Nine businesses this year are also donating food for the volunteers who will help hand out toys to families.
“Their help is greatly appreciated,” Ova said of businesses that help. “I am almost 100 percent positive that all of the families that receive help from Toys for Tots are very grateful for the support.”
Families are referred to the program though social service organizations in Jamestown. Families in need then attend the Dec. 17 event at the Anne Carlsen Center and pick out toys for their children.
The event is designed to make it appear like the toys are coming from the parents. They get $30 worth of toys and a board game for family time.
The community helps by donating toys in the drop boxes or money or volunteering at the event.
Ova works more than 100 hours each holiday season coordinating the program “for the children, to see smiles on Christmas,” she said.
This year there are many families in need of the program, said one official at Stutsman County Social Services.
“It’s really amazing but this year I’ve gotten several, several applications in,” said Julie Opp, parent aide at SCSS.
During the past week there hasn’t been one day someone hasn’t came in asking about being referred. The application deadline is Saturday.
“We do have families that just aren’t going to have much of a Christmas,” Opp said. “So it’s nice to know their kids will get a few gifts.”
For information on how to help, or on the referral process, contact Ova at 952-3603.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com