Article Contributed by
The Resource Center
Thanks to the generosity of the local community, The Resource Center will be making the holidays brighter for area children.
For the 16th straight year, The Resource Center is coordinating the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive in Chautauqua County. The goal is to collect enough toys to provide one large gift and one “stocking stuffer” to every child who is registered to receive assistance through Tots for Tots. Last year, more than 2,400 children in Chautauqua County received toys.
While The Resource Center coordinates the toy drive each year, the initiative would not be successful without the community’s support. Collection boxes have been placed at more than 80 area locations, and people are encouraged to put new, unwrapped toys in the boxes. Boxes will remain at most locations until December 18. (A full listing of collection box locations can be viewed at http://jamestown-ny.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/donate-toys.aspx.)
People planning to attend Jamestown’s holiday parade on December 4 are invited to place toys on the Toys for Tots float that The Resource Center will enter in the procession.
In addition, cash donations also are encouraged so that money is available to buy gifts for those age groups that don’t see a lot of donated toys. To make a monetary donation, send a check (made payable to Toys for Tots) to The Resource Center, 200 Dunham Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701. Do not make checks payable to The Resource Center; instead, checks must be made payable to Toys for Tots.
“The Resource Center is pleased to give back to the community by organizing the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots program in Chautauqua County for the 16th year,” said Heather C. Brown, TRC assistant executive director. “Each year we are truly amazed and humbled by the generosity of this community. From the donations to the volunteers and all of the assistance we get from local organizations, we will again be able to bring smiles to the faces of so many children on Christmas. We thank everyone for their ongoing support in order to make this happen”
The goal of Toys for Tots is to make sure that underprivileged children can have presents to open. Families interested in registering their children to receive toys through Toys for Tots can do so in one of two ways. Families that are involved with area human-service organizations and after-school programs can have staff at those agencies submit an application on the family’s behalf.
Families that are not connected with a human-service agency can apply for toys in person at the following dates and locations: in Dunkirk, at The Resource Center’s location at 186 Lake Shore Drive West, from noon to 3:00 Wednesday, December 2; and in Jamestown, at the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center, 119 West Third Street, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Friday, December 4, and 9:00 to noon Saturday, December 5. These are the only times that walk-in applications will be accepted.
Applicants must meet income criteria and bring proof of household income, as well as identification for adults and all children living in the household. Children from birth to age 17 living at home are eligible to receive toys.
“The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation and The Resource Center have similar missions in wanting to help people in need, so this is such a good fit for us,” Terri Johnson, TRC’s director of employment and community services, said of The Resource Center’s commitment to organizing the toy drive. She and Brown have coordinated the effort since TRC took on the project in 2000. “Each year we are overwhelmed by the generous support from our community, and we are looking forward to another great season.”
This year’s toy drive is receiving a big assist from Allied Alarm Services in Falconer, which has offered to store the donated toys until they are distributed. Mike Roberts, Allied Alarm’s owner and president, is pleased that his company can support Toys for Tots, and he praised The Resource Center, Brown and Johnson for taking on the challenge of coordinating the toy drive.
“Think about how this is going to impact 2,400 people. Hats off to The Resource Center and these two ladies for their leadership. Without them, where would we be?” Roberts said. “I can’t imagine 2,400 smiles on the faces of children when they open their presents. That’s going to be awesome.”
He also thanked area residents for the generosity they exhibit each year to make the toy drive successful.
“It’s a community that gives over and over and over. It’s one of the things that make Chautauqua County such a great place to live.”
In addition to the good feeling that comes from donating toys to make the holidays merrier for a less-fortunate child, lots of people find joy in helping to sort the donated toys and prepare them to be distributed to families. Those interested in assisting with this year’s Toys for Tots drive can contact Johnson at 661-1433