There's Still Time to Help a Child in Need Through Toys for Tots
It's not too late to help a deserving child this Christmas season through Centre County's Toys for Tots program with the greatest need being for children 10 and older.
Coordinator Gene Weller, a retired major in the U.S. Marines Reserves, told StateCollege.com that the greatest need is among children between birth and two-years-old and children 10 and older.
More specifically, 41 percent of children served at the State College Food Bank are 10 and older, Weller said.
"For these older ages, there are other options besides 'toys' that are appropriate. From donated dollars, we purchased items from wholesalers that include curling irons, bath sets, fishing kits, sleeping bags, telescopes, mp3 players, watches, jewelry sets, clock radios, etc.," Weller said.
There are more than 200 gift drop-off sites across the county.
Collection boxes will be removed by Dec. 16.
A slew of volunteers will work together to wrap each donated gift.
Wrapping will begin Dec. 14 at the Penn Stater Conference Center. The following are wrapping sessions open to the public:
- 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14
- 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 15
- 4 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 16
- 1 to 8 p.m., Dec. 17 and Dec. 18
In past years, the number of volunteers on the first three days prevented the need of wrapping sessions beyond the third day.
All volunteers are required to sign a Toys for Tots gratuitous service agreement. Minors must have the signature of a parent or guardian. Click here for the form. Forms will also be available at the wrapping site.
This is the 27th year the program has been sponsored by the Nittany Leathernecks, a detachment of active duty and retired U.S. Marines. The organization oversees the Toys for Tots collection campaign but area food banks and the State College Elks Club are in charge of distributing toys to needy children.
Anyone seeking assistance from Toys for Tots are requested to contact their county food pantry. For assistance determining your county food pantry, contact the Centre County Help Line at 800-494-2500.
Toys for Tots supporters represent a broad cross-section of the community, including area businesses, private individuals, various departments at Penn State, food banks and state social service agencies.