The annual Toys for Tots campaign in Perry is off to a good start, organizers said Saturday, but more donations are encouraged before the collection boxes are taken in on Dec. 3.
“The people of Perry are always extremely generous in our annual toy drive,” said Toys for Tots organizer Linda Andorf. “What can warm the heart more than delivering new toys at Christmas and bringing a message of hope to those less fortunate than us?”
The Toys for Tots collection boxes were set up around Perry earlier this month and can still be found at both Circle K locations plus Dollar General, Hy-Vee, Orsheln Farm and Home, Percival Scientific, Perry Perk, Perry Public Library and Van Wall Equipment. Hy-Vee also begins its week-long Toys for Tots round-up Nov. 20.
The donation boxes will be collected Friday, Dec. 3, and the gifts will be distributed to families in mid-December at the Perry Elks Lodge.
The New Opportunities Dallas County Family Development Center manages the Toys for Tots program, with John and Linda Andorf of Perry serving as the local contacts for donations and distribution. The U.S. Marine Corps donates many toys and games toward local needs, but more are needed than can be provided through this generous military effort.
Applications for the program are available at New Opportunities. New and unwrapped toys are needed for local children, from infants to 14-year-olds. While toys are needed for younger children, monetary donations are accepted in order to purchase gift items for older children and Christmas food baskets.
Monetary donations should be made out to New Opportunities. For more information or to have a monetary donation picked up, please contact the Andorfs at 515-465-5803.
Toys for Tots has been in operation since 1947, when the wife of a U.S. Marine wanted to give a homemade doll to charity. Major William Hendricks could not find a charity that gave Christmas gifts to needy children, so he started his own charity. Thus began the national effort and the birth of Toys for Tots.