The Toys for Tots campaign is continuing this year in Jacksonville despite increasing challenges due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
Jim Crosier with Toys for Tots says things will be a little different this year when the start of the toy distribution begins this Saturday, November 28th.
“This year when the parents come in to get their toys, it will be one parent at a time, for fifteen minutes. Last year they just cam in, yo know I assigned them a date, now they are going to get a specific time. We are going to space it out, it will start this Saturday and do a few then, and then we will skip Sunday, and then go Monday and Tuesday for two hours during the week, and then we will do it again on December fifth.”
Crosier says the need is just as great if not greater this year for the donation of toys, so much so that Toys for Tots Jacksonville will be hosting a special drop off event in two weeks.
“We really don’t have enough toys right now for all the parents. So then after the distribution on December fifth, we are gonna kind of regroup and have a big event on the twelfth and we will be gathering toys all that week. The need is there so after the twelfth, we will start bringing parents in again. So on Saturday, December twelfth, we will be in the Hardee’s parking lot all day long for a toy donation drop off event. I’m excited about that.”
Crosier says the COVID pandemic as well as the closing of MacMurray College have both made this year’s campaign more difficult, with drop off locations such as the K.C. Hall and Fortunes now closed due to heightened COVID restrictions.
Approximately ten current and former U.S. Marines in the Jacksonville area are involved with Toys for Tots, but Crosier says beyond that, many more volunteers are needed and with MacMurray closing, the Highlanders Football Team who helped the campaign each year now are not available.
He says special thanks are in order for Joe Kindred of Jacksonville who stepped up to find enough volunteers to help out this year. Crosier says there is still time to register to be a recipient of Toys for Tots as well, however there are some changes to that process as well due to COVID.
“We are signing up online, we are not taking any applications live in-person. So all they applications have to be done online and it’s pretty easy to find just Google Jacksonville IL Toys for Tots, and it will come right up.”
Toys for Tots is asking for continued support during the holiday season by purchasing a new and unwrapped toy and dropping it off in one of the many collection bins in the Jacksonville area, including:
Jacksonville City Clerk’s Office, Lincoln Land Community College, Loop Barber Shop, the Jacksonville Public Library, Dr Randall Lawson, Mid-West Dental, Morgan County Housing Authority at Beecher High Rise, Fortunes, Trend Setters, State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer’s Office, W.L. Powersports, The Farmers State Bank and Trust Co., The Knights of Columbus Hall, West Central Mass Transit, Chiropractic Health Care, Midland Farm and Home, Jacksonville Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Rudys Grill, Steak and Shake, Town and County Bank, Dollar General Stores, NAPA Auto Parts, and the WLDS WEAI Studios.