Toys for Tots makes record breaking buy

Toys for Tots makes record breaking buy

Sunday afternoon December 14th, just ten days before Santa’s departure from the North Pole some U.S. Marines and Toys for Tots volunteers slid through the doors at Fred Meyers armed with some $2,100 in cash to help out the Jolly Ol’ Elf and be sure that no local boys and girls would miss out on having a Merry Christmas. “Between the toy toss at the Kenai River Brown Bears game and the 21 and over event plus all the other cash donations from the community and sponsors we had over $2,100 which include some very generous people who handed us their coupons on their way out as we were shopping that allowed us to get even more toys for the money,” said Johna Beech who along with Sgt. Jonathon Denton headed up this year’s Toys for Tots local campaign.

Cash donations are used to buy specific new toys to balance out the age groups that may be overlooked at the toy drop locations. According to Beech starting in October residents are encouraged to participate in the Toys for Tots drive by purchasing a new unwrapped toy when they are out shopping and drop it off at any one of some twenty five locations on the Peninsula. Monday, December 15th all the toys were collected, counted and delivered to the Salvation Army for distribution here on the Peninsula. “We had just finished the count with a record breaking total of 1,157 toys, when the Soldotna Elks drove up with another 248 new unwrapped toys with increased our total to 1,605 toys to help out Santa this year,” reported Beech. And toys kept coming in, by Dispatch press time the total had grown to 1,650.

The Toys for Tots is national program of the U.S. Marine Corp. that was brought to the Peninsula six years ago, “It’s one of the fun things about being a Marine,” said Sgt. Jonathon Denton, “When you actually get to shop for the toys that are going back out to this community it’s a great feeling. All the toys that are given locally and that we bought here today go right back out into our community where we can impact those children in need of a Merry Christmas right here at home,” he said. Lance Corporal Jeff Melvin joined in the toy buying mission along with his two year old daughter Elizabeth and Lance Corporal Cat Bras. Toys for Tots volunteers that helped with the toy buy were Cassandra Winslow, Yvonne Oren, Dawni Marx, and Penny Furnish. “This is our 6th year with Toys for Tots on the Kenai Peninsula. We are very blessed to have partnered with the Salvation Army every year to handle our distribution, Jeannie & Craig Fanning do a wonderful job staging the toys and scheduling the families to come in to select the toys for their children,” said Beech.

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