The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, which helps needy families nationwide, is still collecting toys for Washington County children this holiday season.
Jim Mills, who coordinates the program in the county, said his team of volunteers has been collecting 1,500 toys a week, and about 8,000 toys had been collected as of Friday.
“We are aiming for 13,000 toys this year,” Mills said.
Last year, the program collected about 17,000 toys.
“For some reason, less people signed up this year. We had 2,100 kids sign up this year, down from last year’s 3,000,” he said. “I’m not sure why ... we are hoping maybe more people have jobs this year.”
The number of children in need of toys likely will increase in the days to come as more people sign up for the program, Mills said.
There are 220 toy collection boxes countywide at private offices and at retail establishments, he said.
Mills said volunteers have collected a lot of teddy bears and mp3 players.
“We still need toys for boys and girls in the 7 to 12 years age range. There’s not enough for them,” he said.
Mills said he would like to see every family that has the means donate a toy.
“It is good for the soul,” he said.
Jeff Latta, a volunteer with the program who was picking up donated toys Friday from a Jeep dealership in Hagerstown, said the program makes families very happy.
“Nothing quite like the day that we are giving out the toys, to see the parents’ face and tears and things like that whenever they come and get the toys from us. It’s a real blessing,” Latta said.
For more information on how to donate a toy or how to become part of the Toys for Tots program, call Jim Mills at 301-331-2683.
Public dropoff locations include:
- Toys R Us Express, Premium Outlets, Hagerstown
- Walmart, 17850 Garland Groh Blvd., Hagerstown
- Burger King, 503 Dual Highway, Hagerstown
Families who want to sign up for the program may call The Salvation Army at 301-733-2440.