MADERA COUNTY — As the holiday season begins to draw near, our local Marine Corps League Detachment 1121 members gear up for the annual campaign that has been making Christmas wishes come true for needy children since 1947.
Now, the 2018 Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign in Eastern Madera County has begun with the placement of toy donation boxes and cash donation jars in over 70 supporting businesses, schools and agencies.
“The Marines work very hard to make Toys For Tots a success, but we could never do it without the help of concerned citizens, schools, churches, and business leaders,” says Dennis Osantowski, now in his 5th year as EMC Toys for Tots Coordinator.
The Marine Corps Reserve and the Marine Corps League would like the community’s help to send children in need a message of hope this Christmas through the gift of a new, unwrapped toy. Labeled boxes are at mountain locations from Monday, Nov. 12 through Thursday, Dec. 13.
Last year the local Toys for Tots campaign distributed over 3,800 toys to more than 1,350 children in Eastern Madera County.
“What we collect here stays here. One hundred percent of any money donated is spent in our Toys For Tots effort. For the many volunteers who make Toys For Tots possible year after year, Toys For Tots embodies the true spirit of Christmas.
“The gift of a shiny new toy – something that most children take for granted – means to a needy child that someone cares, that he or she has not been forgotten, that Christmas has not passed him or her by.”
The kick-off event this year is Saturday, Nov. 17 at Oakhurst True Value, where volunteers will be present to accept donations of new and unwrapped toys. True Value is offering a special double value: bring a toy and double your donation by selecting a free toy from inside the store to donate.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, the big round-up of toys will take place, as usual, at the Old Mill Village shopping center in Oakhurst, and the Historic Village in Coarsegold. Tents and volunteers will be present in both locations, Marine volunteers will visit with the public, Santa Claus is planning to stop by, and agencies will share static displays including fire trucks, police cars, search and rescue vehicles and more.
If you wish to make a monetary donation for this year’s campaign, or have any questions, please contact Dennis Osantowski at (970) 209-2099.
Look for local businesses in Coarsegold, Oakhurst and North Fork who offer money saving specials that benefit Toys for Tots.
Toys can be dropped off at the Oakhurst CHP Office anytime during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“The magic can’t happen without help and assistance from everyone,” says Osantowski. “We can make this a Christmas to remember when those children who might not have one wake up to at least one new toy under the tree.”