MADERA COUNTY — The 2017 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 five dozen schools, businesses and agencies.
Dennis Osantowski, in his 4th year as Toys for Tots Coordinator, says that this may be one of the toughest years for the program with all the fires leaving more needy families and children than previous years.
“The Christmas season with Toys for Tots providing new and unwrapped toys for needy children has been happening since its official inception in 1948,” says Osantowski. “It can’t happen without the volunteers and the giving nature of our mountain area residents, businesses and organizations. Every dollar and every toy collected in Eastern Madera County stays in the mountain area to benefit children and families in need – and we gratefully appreciate every donor.”
Last year, around 4,500 toys valued at $50,000 were distributed to nearly 1,200 Eastern Madera County needy children.
This year, three big events bring Toys for Tots to the public – first the KickOff on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Oakhurst True Value where any toy dropped off or purchased in True Value allows the donor to receive a free toy in the store to increase his or her donation.
There is also the annual RoundUp on Saturday, Dec. 2, of toys at the Oakhurst Old Mill Shopping Center (Vons) and the Historic Village in Coarsegold.
Tents and volunteers will be present in both locations, similar to last year when the Marine volunteers visited with the public, greeted the children with Santa Claus and shared static displays including fire trucks, police cars, Search and Rescue vehicles and much more.
Look for local businesses in Coarsegold, Oakhurst and North Fork who offer money saving specials that benefit Toys for Tots.
- Queen’s Inn/Idle Hour Winery, is holding a wine tasting on Dec. 1, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Bring a toy(s) worth $20 or a cash donation to taste 10 different wines and light appetizers.
- Slim’s Koffee Shak in Oakhurst and North Fork accepts cash donations to benefit Toys for Tots and offers a free beverage with any toy donated at their stores.
- Hallmark sponsors Toys for Tots by donating money for every “Itty Bitty” toy and each Snoopy, Peanuts and Charley Brown ornament sold.
- Christ Church Women’s Boutique, to be held Nov. 18, at the Masonic Lodge from 9 a.m. to 3 pm., donates a portion of its proceeds.
- Oakhurst Family Chiropractic, a long time supporter of Toys for Tots, is an official drop-off location and will accept toys from Nov. 19 to Dec. 18. New patients who bring two toys of $10 value each will receive all first day initial office procedures, to include the office evaluation, orthopedic exam, neurologic exam, and if possible, first day treatment. Returning patients will be seen for a single toy ($10 value).
- Oakhurst Feed on Enterprise Drive is having a sale on Saturday, Nov. 11. Donate a toy and get 10 percent off your purchase.
- With the toy donation, Northland Cable is deleting the $50 installation fee for new customers purchasing internet service. Contact Karen Bradley or Kathy Harmon at 559-683-7388.
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.
Past participants who donated to Toys for Tots include T.O.P.S., Sullivan’s Tire Pros, Elks Lodge, Road Rattlers Car Club and Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.
“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.”
Please contact Dennis Osantowski 970-209-2099 with questions on Toys for Tots. Click here to visit the website.
Drop off your toys at any of these locations:
*Wasuma Elementary School
Bass Lake Post Office
*Coarsegold Elementary School
Coarsegold Post Office
Dale’s Creative Hair & Nail Boutique
*Rivergold Elementary School
Sun Mountain Gun Club
True Value Hardware – YLP
*Yosemite Lakes Community Church
Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse
Yosemite Lakes Park Pro Shop
*Woodland Elementary School
Hair Care Plus
*Grace Community Church
*North Fork Elementary School
Slim’s Koffee Shak
Allstate Insurance Agency
Bank of America
Dr. Rodney Peter, DDS
*First Baptist Church
Fresno Flats Christmas Special
Golden Chain Theatre, Dec. 5-6-7
Idle Hour Winery
Madera Sheriff’s Sub-Station
*Mountain Home Charter School/Glacier Charter High School
*Oak Creek Intermediate School
*Oakhurst Elementary School
Oakhurst Family Chiropractic
*Oakhurst Lutheran Church
Oakhurst Post Office
Pak & Page
ProFlame Gas Company
*Sierra Pines Church
Sierra Star Newspaper
Sierra Tel Business Systems
True Value Home Center
United Security Bank
*Yosemite Alternative High Schools
*Yosemite High School
*O’Neals Digital Middle School
*Spring Valley Elementary School
*Raymond-Knowles Elementary School
*Wawona Elementary School
*Schools & Churches – In the interest of safety, only faculty and parents of students and members of the churches should use these toy drop off points.