Toys For Tots Program aims to reach more people
LaGRANGE- It’s time to start thinking about collecting toys for children at Christmas, and that means it’s time for parents to apply for Toys for Tots.
This will be the 17th year that the Marine Corps League PFC George Eiland Detachment 1040 will hold its 2016 Toys For Tots program in LaGrange. The Toys For Tots program is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts at Christmas. The program was found in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks.
The LaGrange Marine Corps Detachment has been working with three agencies in Troup County, the LaGrange Empty Stocking Fund, Hogansville Empty Stocking Fund, and Salvation Army, for decades to help accept families, screen them, and coordinate applications for toys and the distribution to families in the local area.
The LaGrange Empty Stocking Fund is located at the LaGrange Personal Aid Office at 416 Pierce St. in LaGrange.
The Hogansville Empty Stocking Fund is located at The Pilot Club at 311 E Main St. in Hogansville.
The Salvation Army is at 806 Murphy Ave. in LaGrange.
The LaGrange Empty Stocking Fund and Salvation Army are both currently accepting applications for children to receive toys, while the Hogansville Empty Stocking Fund will start taking applications on Tuesday.
Bernard Bledsoe, who has been the Toys For Tots coordinator since 2000, said the program usually serves between 1,700 to 1,800 kids and 300 to 400 families annually. They will start distributing to families on Dec. 19 — a week before Christmas — after they have collected and sorted all the toys out.
“With the toys, we prefer to give them to the parents of the kids, instead of the grandparents, just to avoid families possibly getting extra toys,” said Bledsoe.
The last day the Detachment will take applications will be on Thursday, Dec. 16, so Bledsoe, along with the other organizations, is trying to spread the word so many families may participate.
“Our goal is to address every child we get a chance to and serve every child in need of a toy,” said Bledsoe.
For any questions about registering for Toys For Tots, call Bledsoe at 706-882-7611.