We haven’t made it to Thanksgiving yet, but it’s not too early to get in the spirit of holiday giving.
One way to do that is by helping out the local Toys for Tots program, run by the DeKalb County Marine Corps League.
The campaign collects gifts and donations to buy gifts for local children who otherwise might not receive them during the holidays. Last year, DeKalb County Toys for Tots and The Salvation Army, which distributes the toys collected in DeKalb County, served more than 2,500 children from 988 local families.
The campaign kicked off on a chilly Saturday at Walmart in DeKalb and collected about $550 in cash donations and 124 toys; organizers had hoped to bring in about 500 toys, said program coordinator Kathi Hogshead Davis.
The weather might have chilled the kickoff, but there still are many opportunities to help out this worthy cause.
The annual toy drive accepts gifts for children of all ages, but is most in need of gifts for children older than 10. Toys for Tots does not distribute gift cards, with the exception of iTunes gift cards, which can help older youth purchase music and other applications.
Cash donations also are happily accepted, and can help the organizers purchase gifts at lower costs than retail, and for age groups where there is a need, Davis said. Cash donations can be made online at ToysForTots.org – be sure to direct your gift to DeKalb County – by contacting Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 779-777-5896.
Helping Toys for Tots can be as simple as test driving a vehicle, too. Brad Manning Ford in DeKalb has pledged a $10 donation for every person who test drives one of its vehicles in November and December. At IHOP restaurants around the Chicago area, including in DeKalb, they will give donors a $5 coupon for donating money or a toy to the effort.
Donation boxes for the program also are set up in locations around the area. In DeKalb, donations are being accepted at 19 locations, including restaurants, beauty salons, auto dealers, banks and the local American Legion and VFW posts. In Sycamore, there are 26 collection sites, there are eight more in Genoa, and others in Kirkland, Sandwich, Plano, Waterman, Hinckley, Somonauk, and elsewhere. A complete list of collection sites is online at www.sycamore-il.toysfortots.org.
The Toys for Tots program is needs-based and those who want gifts for their children must document their need. Toys for Tots and Salvation Army also cross check with other agencies to ensure families are only able to receive donations once.
Spreading holiday cheer among local families in need is a worthy cause. We thank Davis and the local Marine Corps League for continuing this program and urge anyone who is able to help to do so.