When Harold Ross entered for an appointment at New River Valley Dental office in Blacksburg, staff Erica Ziegert and Crystal Roberts asked about his pick-up truck adjoined with magnets.
Ross is a retired Marine and the NRV coordinator of the Toy For Tots with the Marine Corp League Detachment #1190.
NRV Dental’s Dr. Kimberly Atherton and her staff enjoy community outreach with buy-back-program for Halloween candy in addition to collections of cell phones for at-risk women and coats for the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program to name a few. NRV Dental decided to be a collection point for the 2017 Toys of Tots campaign.
NRV Dental customers and community members are encouraged to bring new and unwrapped toys during office hours before the Monday, Dec. 18 deadline.
“It is such a joy to see the toys arrive,” Ziegert said.
Other Toys For Tots collection locations include: Shelor and Duncan automobile dealerships, Ruby Tuesdays, Dish Network, all Dollar Stores, NRV Superbowl, Hometown and Carter banks, Crossfit 460, First Security Self Storages, Adventure Hobbies and the Fairlawn Wal-Mart. Donors need only look for the official Marine Corp Toys For Tots box or sponsor signs.
There is no set limit on the price of a toy that can be donated. However, the group does not accept realistic toy weapons. Cosmetic and craft kits are welcomed for older children. Food donations will not be distributed. All donations must be unwrapped.
Marines, retired and active duty, pick up collections and disperse toys to needy children in the area covered by the Marine Corp League Detachment. The detachments have a local coordinator, like Ross, to get the job done.
“I am happy to have so many locations for our Toys For Tots boxes. I feel like we got off to a slow start. With travel to Leesburg, VA in early September for Toys For Tots training and before I knew it, October was here,” Ross said.
Ross said, “I am extremely grateful to have First Security Self Storage in Blacksburg provide us with free storage units to collect these toys. This unit is where we count every donated toy coming in and going out.”
Michael Wilburn of the First Security Storage Units on Industrial Drive in Blacksburg was happy to help the Detachment with this Toys For Tots mission. “Mr. Ross is wonderful to work with and this is a worthy cause to support,” he said.
Toys For Tots was founded in 1947 by a Major Bill Hendricks for a California based Marine post. The program grew across the United States with notoriety and contributions over the years. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and as an official mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve.
The Toys For Tots is able to accept monetary donations. Ninety-seven percent of any national donation goes to the mission of providing more toys, books and other gifts to help with any shortfalls from collection boxes and to insure all less fortunate children receive a toy on Christmas Day or up until January 15th.
“One hundred percent of all donations to the local Detachment are spent locally for local kids. If we experience a shortfall, I can apply for a supplemental grant from the National Toys For Tots,” Ross said.
Also, monetary donations can be accepted online until Friday, Dec. 22.
Ross has already spent $4,000 last Friday at the Fairlawn Wal-Mart to help a local prison ministries organization. Marine Corp League Detachment volunteers can go shopping for a specific list of children, age and wishes. Children with incarcerated parents will experience some joy from Toys For Tots.
Other organizations like Social Services, Montgomery County Christmas Store, Radford Elf Shelf, New River Community Action, any church or charitable organization can evaluate needs and requests then forward names and ages to Ross and the Detachment.
Ross has even received a request this year from a Moose Lodge in Galax to fulfill a great need. Any individual wishing to apply to be a recipient of a Toy For Tots should contact one of those agencies or organizations, not the Detachment directly.
“We do not want any children to fall through the cracks. We want to make sure every child has at least two toys this Christmas,” Ross said.
Joe Walker, minister of the New River Valley Biker Church, was present to collect toys for needy children in his congregation and in the community around his church. Walker helped Ross organize a Motorcycle Toy Run on Nov. 4. Despite the rain and cold, bikers donated over100 toys and $400.00.
“It is all about these kids. Things befall people and children still need to be provided for. Children need our help and to not be left out,” he said.