.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Marines are Santa’s helpers

-A A +A
By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

It is customary to see the tall white boxes with a picture of Santa Claus on it during the holiday season. And this year is no exception.

The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign officially kicked off Oct. 15. And the program is anticipating giving away more toys than in 2007.

Guy White, past coordinator of the Toys for Tots program and Ocala West Marine Corps League member, said they are hoping to help 11,000 children this year. Last year, the group gave toys to 9,948 children in the county, which amounted to about 28,000 toys.

Organizations like the Salvation Army, Sheltering Arms, Interfaith Emergency Services, and Ocala Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Center put in requests to Toys for Tots for the needy children affiliated with their programs. Individuals cannot make requests for the toys.

Jim McCarthy, Ocala West Marine Corps member, said each child gets a toy, some stocking stuffers depending on their age and a stuffed animal. “They’re getting a variety” of toys, he said.

The Marine Corps Reserve has distributed about 130 collection boxes throughout Marion County at businesses, organizations and government agencies. Businesses like Toys R Us, Palm Chevrolet and CCS Mechanical are big contributors to the Toys for Tots campaign.

In addition, Dr. Debra Allen starts buying toys for the program in late December for the next year’s drive. White said the Morriston doctor has a room in her house filled with toys for the Marines. On Friday, he picked up the first of approximately three truckloads of toys from her, which included an assortment of items like board games and books. Last year, she donated about $2,000 worth of toys for