Itâ€™s that time of year again â€” when the days grow cooler, a little frost shows up at night, and thoughts begin to turn toward Christmas.
This is also the time when efforts such as Toys for Tots gets underway, though this season the sponsors, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, fear Christmas season could be more difficult for the underprivileged because of COVID-19.
The annual campaign serves around 1,000 children a year, sometimes more, in Surry County, according to local organizers. In 2019, under the leadership of coordinators Debbie King and Jane Tesh, associates of the Marine Corps League of Surry County, Detachment #1322, more than 1,300 children were served, with more than 8,200 toys distributed so the children could have â€śa better Christmas due to the generous people of Surry County,â€ť the group said recently.
The program is not just for Christmas, either. In June the group distributed more than 250 books children in Surry County.
This yearâ€™s Christmas Toys for Tots campaign began Oct. 1, and will run through Christmas, although anyone wishing to help after Christmas can do so â€” donations are accepted year-round.
â€śThis year with the COVID-19 collections and donations will need to be different to keep everyone safe,â€ť the group said in announcing the 2020 campaign.
Typically, Toys for Tots Boxes can be seen scattered throughout the county beginning around Nov. 1. Individuals and businesses in the community typically purchases toys to put in the boxes and volunteers from the Marine Corps League of Surry County collect the toys. Those same Marines work fundraisers requesting monetary donations outside of Wal-Mart stores in Mount Airy and Elkin. Last year Loweâ€™s Hardware was also another spot where Marines could be found requesting donations. Boxes remained out until the beginning of December.
All the toys collected are distributed throughout the area. Monetary donations are used to purchase additional toys. The majority of toys received are given to the Salvation Army, churches and other 501c3 charities. Others are distributed through the Toys for Tots online applications taken which are vetted via Salvation Armyâ€™s social workers to attempt to discouraged duplicate applicants.
This year, due to safety concerns, the Marine Corps League and Toys for Tots are asking for monetary online donations through the official Toys for Tots site. To donate online go to ToysforTots/surry and make a donation.
â€śThis will ensure that your donation stays within the county area,â€ť the local group said. â€śYour donation is tax deductible and there is no administration fee. Toys for Tots is an IRS recognized 501c3 nonprofit public charity.
For those who would rather not donate money via online, a check can be sent to Coordinator Debbie King at 379 Lovers Lane, Mount Airy, NC 27030.
Surry County Toys for Tots is setting up a event registry at Wal-Mart called Toys for Tots Surry. Toys can be chosen, paid for, and delivered to Surry County Toys for Tots. For those who would rather shop on Amazon, there is also a wish list there, Surry Toys for Tots.
â€śWe are also looking into running a fundraiser through yougivegoods.com which is a platform to run a virtual toy drive,â€ť the local group said.
The organization also will hold a one-day Drive by Toy Drop Off for those that want to purchase toys themselves. The event will be held on Nov. 28, from 9 a.m. â€“ 3 p.m. For the communityâ€™s convenience, a toy drop-off location will be available in Mount Airy, Elkin, Pilot Mountain and Dobson.
For further information check on the Toys for Tots website or friend the organization on Facebook ToysforTotsSurrycounty.