Major Brian Murray, USMC (Ret), the Vice President of Operations for The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation announced this week that the top National Toys for Tots campaign for 2013 is the Greater Rome Toys for Tots.
The Local Community Organization (LCO) that is the sponsor for the Greater Rome Toys for Tots is The Exchange Club of Rome.
Exchangite Hal Gosnell has headed the local campaign the last two years after the local Marine Corps Reserve outfit in Rome was disbanded. Although the Exchange Club provides the core management group of the campaign, the Greater Rome Toys for Tots organization, which covers Chattooga, Floyd, and Polk Counties, has over 300 volunteers each year who gather toys and funds, sort, distribute, and perform the myriad of administrative tasks required to account for and report the contributions and distribution. In addition, without the cooperation and use of the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds, the preparation for and actual distribution would not be possible.
Last year, the Greater Rome Toys for Tots distributed toys to over 2,500 children between the ages of newborn and 12 years. Through donations of toys and the funds to buy them from individuals and organizations, there were over 8,000 toys and 8,000 stocking stuffers given to children on Christmas who would have been disappointed without the thoughtfulness and concern of our area citizens.
In addition, our area received 48,000 donated books that were distributed to local schools, the Boys and Girls Club, and Head Start. Our thanks go to Apollo Marketing for the use of their warehouse space to receive, sort, and distribute those books.
The Toys for Tots Foundation’s mission is to provide at least one new toy or gift at Christmas for each child who otherwise would be faced with a bleak Christmas morning. Through these gifts, it is hoped that these children will see hope for a brighter future and, in years to come, become volunteers to Toys for Tots in their communities.
The Toys for Tots Collection Boxes will start being placed in early October. For those who wish to make cash donations on-line now, they can do so through www.ToysForTots.org.
Toys for Tots relies on localities without Marine Reserve units to conduct the Toys for Tots campaign through organizations such as The Exchange Club of Rome and utilizing only volunteers. In fact, no donations to Toys for Tots are used to pay salaries. All donations of toys and money that are donated locally remain locally for the purchase and distribution of toys in our greater Rome area.