Toys for Tots wrapping up this week, so donate now

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Marine Corps League Detatchment 1040 is hosting its annual Toys for Tots campaign for the holiday season.

The campaign is set to end this Friday so that organizations can distribute toys to children in the community just in time for Christmas. 

To serve as many children as possible, the league has partnered with several organizations such as The Pilot Club of Hogansville, the LaGrange Personal Aid Association, and the Salvation Army for better distribution of the toys.

Assistant Coordinator of the campaign, 86-year-old Bernard Bledsoe, has been helping to run the detachment’s campaign since its conception 24 years ago. His efforts to aid children during the season were what brought organizations together to serve the community.

“We were using already established channels just to keep doing what they were doing, only to do it more and better than before,” Bledsoe said.

Last year, the detachment collected over 1,800 toys for the children of the community and are expecting to gather more by the end of Friday, when the toy drive ends.

To get involved, Bledsoe urges the community to visit local establishments with toy drive boxes and donate as many toys as possible. The drive helps children of all ages, so donors are encouraged to bring a variety of toys.

“You can go to public places like fire stations, police stations, the sheriff’s department, or one of the many organizations and businesses that choose to have a box.”

This weekend local first responders will also be holding an event outside of Walmart to collect last-minute toy donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“You will see all kinds of flashing lights because the first responders in LaGrange and Troup County area will be down there collecting for Toys for Tots,” Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe hopes to continue the tradition he began in LaGrange over two decades ago. He also noted that he is grateful for the community’s help in the campaigns.

“I want to thank the community for 24 years of support, and I  hope that they will join us next year,” Bledsoe said. “On Christmas morning, I’d like for everyone to take a minute to think about the children in Troup County and how they have made Christmas happier for them.”