“The annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in Polk County has begun for the 2019 holiday season”, announced Edward Anderson, Region 3 coordinator.
“We are very grateful for the citizens of Polk County for their support of the program each year. Without their generosity, the program would not be a continued success. Each year, the children of Polk County benefit from their willingness to give,” said Anderson.
During the 2018 holiday season, more than 550 children were able to benefit from the Toys for Tots program. “Over the years, we have seen a trend of a 10 percent increase in the number of children we service. We look to have that increase again this year. We encourage family members to take the time to fill out the application. No matter what the family size, we will provide to the children listed on the application,” shared Anderson.
The application has begun and will continue until the distribution of the gifts during the Christmas party which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Elks Lodge in Mena.
When asked about the specific needs of the children, Anderson answered, “There are two age categories that need assistance, infants (newborn to age 2) and 10-12 age girls. At times, our donors overlook the infants. For them we are simply asking for pacifiers, teething rings, and motor skill toys. As for the 10-12 age girls, we are requesting journals, jewelry making kits, lip balms and bath products, board games, and hair accessories. This year, we are also looking for a source to purchase bikes for the children. We appreciate the donations of the bikes we receive, but it limits us on the distribution when we have to select which child will receive the bike. We would like to have 50 bicycles to enable us to provide multiple families with bikes.”
According to Anderson, monetary donations ear-marked for the bicycles are also accepted.
Anderson and volunteers have been active over the last few weeks distributing the Toys for Tots donation boxes and jars. The following are the 2019 donation locations in Mena: the Mena Star office, Elks Lodge 781, Dollar General, Diamond Bank, Union Bank of Mena, UARM, Methodist Church, St. Agnes Church, Skyline Cafe, Freedom Pharmacy, First Financial Bank. Chambers Bank, Mena High School, Mena Ranger Station, Pulse News, Arvest Bank, Mena Regional Health System.
Other locations include the Dollar General in Cove and Wickes and the Union Bank of Mena branches in Hatfield and Wickes.