The local “Toys for Tots” program has been in operation since 2010 and just completed another season on Friday.
Marine Toys for Tots is a national program and has various campaigns that are broken down by counties in every state, according to Mindi Wickensimer. Wickensimer is the coordinator of the local Toys for Tots campaign and has been involved with the program for nine years.
“I continue to do it because it makes my heart happy, and every child deserves a little Christmas,” explained Wickensimer through an email.
The process begins every year with collection boxes being distributed throughout Fayette County at participating businesses and locations from October to mid-December. As the boxes fill up, they are collected. The items inside the boxes are then sorted by age and gender.
There is then a distribution day in which parents pick out gifts that have been sorted by recommended age and gender.
“My volunteers and I collect, sort, count and distribute (toys, books and stocking stuffers) donated by the community as well as toy drives and other events,” she explained. “We bag each child’s gifts and give them to the parents. We will have wrapping paper and a wrapping station if they want to wrap the gifts before they leave.”
When asked about the purpose of the program, Wickensimer explained it is “to provide Christmas to those kids who would otherwise not get anything under their tree Christmas morning.”
Wickensimer further explained that they can collect and can do events all year long. She has approximately 10 volunteers to assist with the campaign and is always in need of more. Businesses and organizations can also let her know if they are interested in sponsoring one of the collection boxes.
“I would like to thank the community for their support and all of their donations this Christmas season and throughout the year,” she wrote.
Those interested in volunteering or becoming a future sponsor for a collection box can contact Wickensimer at 740-600-3343 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.