Local Marines Give "Toys-for-Tots" an Early Start

Local Marines decided that instead of placing toy collection boxes on the first of December, like last year they would put out the boxes earlier.

Something that is helping "Toys for Tots".

While it looks like Santa’s workshop, these elves are wearing camouflage.

South Bend Marines sorting toys that have already been donated.

First Sergeant Robert Rhodes says, "Some of the places we go to require us to even go there twice a week because they fill up that fast."

Normally, collection boxes are not out until the first of December but this year they went out November 15th.

As Marines sort various toys by age group, some age groups are getting more toys than others.

Stuffed animals are suggested for the zero-two age range, along with early learning toys.

The South Bend Marines are in-charge of distributing toys to children in Mishawaka, Niles and Lakeville as well.

A whopping 22 thousand children requested toys from them last year this year they expect that number to be higher.

"We try to give each child two toys each, and then the smaller items that we get we call them stocking stuffers and we give them one stocking stuffer with the two toys," says Rhodes.

South bend Marines have about 15 thousand toys collected now, about 3 thousand left over from last year.

Marines all over Michiana are looking forward to Saturday’s WNDU drive to collect a large number of unwrapped toys.

However, as a heads-up for those "wanting" toys from "toys for tots", many agencies, like Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul have deadlines for applying for help.

There are only a few days left and the only way you can get toys is by applying through social service agencies.

Again, we hope you will join us for our “toys for tots” drive today, December 2nd from seven to ten, during Newscenter 16 Saturday morning.

We will be collecting new unwrapped toys at four locations throughout the area.


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