The holiday season will arrive soon, and the Marine Corps Reserve in Augusta is preparing for what it hopes will be its most successful Toys for Tots drive.
"Our goal is to exceed monetary and toy donations over last year," said Gunnery Sgt. Sherry Barrera, assistant coordinator of the drive.
Last year, Toys for Tots brought in almost 6,300 toys and more than $21,000 in monetary donations in the Augusta area.
The Marines will kick off their effort on Saturday with a 5K run/walk at Wildwood Park in Appling. The race begins at 8 a.m.
The cost is $10 before Friday and $15 after. Registration will begin at 6:30 a.m.
Toy collection will continue across the area until Dec. 15.
There are more than 40 drop-off sites in the area, including many Walgreens locations, the Morris Museum of Art and Monkey Joe's.
Collected toys will be distributed to children in 15 Georgia and South Carolina counties. Organizations such as the Salvation Army and United Way coordinate distribution, she said.
Toys for children of all ages are needed.
"Zero to 3 years old and 12 to 14 years old -- we always run short for those," Barrera said.
Toys for Tots has been helping make the holidays brighter for families in need since 1947.
"Maj. Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came from Bill's wife, Diane. In the fall of 1947, Diane handcrafted a Raggedy Ann doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. He did," according to the Toys for Tots Foundation Web site www.toysfortots.org.
To find out more about Toys for Tots or the Nov. 8 race, call (706) 736-2115 .
TROTTING FOR TOYS
WHAT: 5K run/walk
WHERE: Wildwood Park, off Washington Road in Appling
WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8
COST: $10 before Friday, $15 after
CALL: (706) 736-2115 or (706) 736-2037
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.