Marine Toys for Tots donates toys to the kids during the Holiday season that are less fortunate than others. They provide all kinds of toys from a big huggable teddy bear all the way down to a bouncy ball.
Toys for Tots is one of the oldest charities that have been around to help the young children during the holiday season. It has been around for sixty-four years, and was first established in the year 1947.
Bob Harris is the coordinator of Stark County for Toys for Tots, and has been for seventeen years; therefor this is not the first time that Mr. Harris has put together work for Toys for Tots in the Stark County area.
“In 1984 my wife and I had set up our very own Toys for Tots organization in our very own basement of our house. Stark County did not have Toys for Tots in this area at that time, and I knew it was the perfect way to give back to my community,” Mr. Harris explained.
“We sorted out every toy and kept track of all the names, and when it would get close to Christmas we would call the parents and they would come to our home and collect the toys for their children. Eventually it became so big that we had to move it into our garage,” Bob went on to explain.
In 2006 Bob had won Coordinator of the year award, and then won it again in 2010. No other person has won this award twice.
If you would like to donate to the charity please keep in mind that the toys must be new and they must be wrapped when you drop them off. They do not do the wrapping for you.
But where do they store all of the toys that are being collected? “I have a ten by thirty foot storage unit at Advance Storage Unit on Whipple Avenue. All the toys are brought to the units and volunteers separate the toys by age groups,” explains Mr. Harris.
After the toys are dropped off to the storage unit, they are then sorted out by Mr. Harris and other Marine Volunteers. They are then separated into different categories.
First they must be separated into the first category, which is the boys and girls group, and then they are sorted out into their own age groups. These age groups include: infants, ages zero to two, ages three to five, ages six to eight, nine to eleven, and twelve to thirteen.
The children are given these toys on Christmas day to bring them joy and warm filled hearts. “On Christmas morning I like to sit at my kitchen table, have a cup of coffee, and just sit looking out the window knowing that other people and I have brought joy into these children’s lives,” said Bob Harris as he sat next to me at his kitchen table.
Marine Toys for Tots donates these toys to the kids that are living in and around their local area. Each county has their own drop off areas and each donates to different children in different districts.
For Uniontown and Hartville there are many places where you can drop your donations off. Hartville has 19 drop off sites and some of these include: Hartville Chocolate Factory, Big Lots, and our very own Lake YMCA.
Uniontown, being a much smaller area, only has five drop off sites, and some of these include: Chase bank, Lake Varsity Diner, and the Uniontown Fire Station.
If you are not able to get to a drop off site then please remember that you can also donate by mail as well. If you wish to do this then please visit their website at ToysforTots.org and go to the tabs at the top of the page and click on donate.
If you were not able to make a donation last year please remember that there will be another chance during this year to make a change in a child’s life. Even the smallest toy can make the biggest impact in a child’s life today so please donate.