Marine Corps League to begin taking donations at Walmart Nov. 30

Published 8:45 pm Thursday, November 21, 2019

If it’s early December and you see the flashing lights of police, and fire vehicles at Walmart, don’t worry. It’s probably just the Toys for Tots drive hosted by the Marine Corps League.  

Commandant Mike Ellis of the 1st Sgt. Charles F. Waller Detachment 1040, LaGrange’s Marine Corps League chapter, said the lights bring people in.  

“Lots of people want to know what happened at Walmart, with the vehicles lit up and Christmas music playing. Everybody has a good time, and it’s a chance to have a meet and greet with first responders,” he said.  

Toy donations will be taken at the Walmart located at 803 New Franklin Rd on the first two weekends of December. 

That’s Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.  

There will also be drop off locations around town through Dec. 13. 

Locations include Hog Heaven restaurant, several locations of Dollar General, and many car dealerships, according to Ellis.  

Toys have to be new to be donated. Monetary donations are also accepted by first responders at Walmart on drop-off days. 

“We turn that cash back into toys,” Ellis said. “We go back numerous times and buy new toys at Walmart. With Walmart, it’s a win-win. They’re helping the community, and they give us a great discount. It’s a great location, too.”  

The Walmart collection days are a highlight for Ellis.  

“I love it,” he said. “Last year I had this little kid, a little girl, probably 8-years-old, who gave me 12 pennies. That came out of her pocket, not something her mother gave her or anything. It really touches you pretty good when you see not only parents giving, but kids who recognize that there will be other kids out there who, unless we step up, will not have toys at Christmas.”  

Ellis said that he is excited to be part of the annual Toys for Tots drive.

“I’ll be out there all four days,” Ellis said. “I dropped off 36 boxes at what used to be Hyundai Dymos [now Hyundai Transys] on Kia Blvd. I’ll be picking them up with other marines. Nations Towing helps us pick them up with their trucks.”

The Marine Corps League is partnering with the Salvation Army, LaGrange Personal Aid Association and Empty Stocking Fund in Roanoke. These organizations will be distributing toys for to families in need. Together, the three organizations expect to serve over 1,000 local families.   

“They make sure the right families get the toys,” Ellis said.