Toy donations were down slightly from last year but so were the requests for toys. “Near as we can tell we were able to meet the needs of all the agencies we serve,” says Toys for Tots coordinator, Maggie Kent.
The campaign services a five county area that includes Grand Traverse, Antrim, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Benzie Counties. Other Toys for Tots organizations are active throughout northern Michigan.
The toy drive is part of a national campaign that started 70-years ago by the Marine Corps Reserves. It is the largest toy collection program in the country with 800 campaigns in all 50 states. Last year the Northwest Michigan Toys For Tots campaign was selected as the top campaign in a region that covers five Midwestern states and 140 campaigns.
“One of the reasons we received the award was the amazing collaboration that takes place between individuals, businesses, schools and non-profit organizations,” says Kent. “That collaboration was once again our shining star this year.”
The Northwest Michigan Toys for Tots campaign distributes through all major human resources agencies including the Father Fred Foundation, Salvation Army and the Leelanau and Benzie Family Department of Human Services. Toys are collected at over 100 drop off locations. The campaign was bolstered by Bikes for Tikes that pumped in over 300 bikes.
Employees of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK helped pick up toys at many of the locations, while the Coast Guard Air Station provided storage and distribution. Other corporate sponsors included Meijer, Toys R Us, Fox Motors, Bill Marsh Auto, Bay Area Transportation Authority, ASCOM North, A. Papano’s Pizza, Padnos, Traverse City Record-Eagle, TV 7&4, ABC 29 & 8, radio stations WKLT, The Fox FM, WKHQ and Bob FM.
More information about the campaign is available at www.ToysForTots.org.