Christmas is coming up fast and Sue Henderson is looking for more volunteers to help with the Hangtown Detachment 697 of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program in El Dorado County.
Henderson and her husband, Hollis, are coordinators for the Toys for Tots drive in the Placerville area and they need a toy store full of Santa’s helpers to get toys to children in El Dorado County.
As of mid-November, they had approximately 80 volunteers to help distribute toys the weekend of Dec. 15 and 16 at Indian Creek Elementary School, 6701 Green Valley Road in Placerville.
Last year, there were approximately 500 people who volunteered their time.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, volunteers will be needed from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. to distribute toys to families. Volunteers will be needed for clean up on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Henderson said people can sign up for more than one shift. They just need to be specific as to which job they want to do.
She also said it is helpful if volunteers note if they have helped Toys for Tots before so she can place new and experienced workers on each shift.
People who volunteer are strongly encouraged to bring drinks, covered dish or snacks for a pot luck.
Jim Crumley, 79, of Placerville, is a long-time volunteer. He drives one of the routes that makes deliveries to the families. He also helps deliver and pick up toy boxes at businesses that are collecting toys for the program. He has been helping since 2003.
Crumley, who was in the Air Force and served in Korea, likes to see the joy on the children’s and faces.
“It just makes you feel good that you’re helping some kids and their parents,” Crumley said.
Many businesses in El Dorado County already have toy boxes and more are expected to ask for the collection boxes.
The Hangtown Detachment 697 U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign is in its 32nd year in the county and 64th year across the United States.
Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by Maj. Bill Hendricks, a reservist in the Marines, and his wife Diane along with a group of Marine reservists in Los Angeles. The major was the director of public relations for Warner Brothers Studio.
Toys for Tots is accepting new toys for children from birth to age 13.
Henderson said 1,000 families that equated to 3,387 children registered last year and she anticipates more to sign up this year.
“Most of those applications have two or more children in each family and some come from single-income parents,” Henderson said.
People interested in donating their time for Toys For Tots or those wishing to donate a toy or money to purchase toys can contact Henderson at 530-344-9384 or e-mail [email protected] or visit edct4t.org.
Families interested in having their children receive a toy need to fill out an application. The applications are available at elementary and middle schools in the county.
The deadline is Thursday, Dec. 13. Families wanting more information about the application process cab call Henderson at the number already listed, e-mail [email protected] or visit the same Website.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.