Toys for Tots bring comfort, joy in turbulent times

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Linda Andorf, left, and John Andorf are the local contacts for the 2020 Toys for Tots program in the Perry area. Collection boxes will be found around town. The program brings new toys to children of low-income families.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, Americans take time to count our blessings and be thankful for what we have. During this time, the Toys for Tots campaign also begins its annual collection drive in preparation for Christmas, and the economic stress caused by COVID-19 makes the needs greater than ever in 2020.

The goal of the Toys for Tots program is to deliver a new toy at Christmas and to provide a message of hope to those less fortunate. Community supporters can help by donating toys to one of the Toys for Tots collection boxes set up around Perry beginning this week.

Collection boxes can be found at Ben’s Five and Dime, Dollar General, Orsheln Farm and Home, Percival Scientific, Perry Perk and Van Wall Equipment. Boxes will be collected Friday, Dec. 4, and the gifts will be distributed to families in mid-December at the Perry Elks Lodge.

Hy-Vee will hold a Toys for Tots round-up Nov. 16-25.

The New Opportunities Dallas County Family Development Center manages the Toys for Tots program, with John and Linda Andorf of Perry serving as the local contacts for donations and distribution. The U.S. Marine Corps donates many toys and games toward local needs, but more are needed than can be provided through this generous military effort.

Applications for the program are available at New Opportunities. New and unwrapped toys are needed for local children, from infants to 14-year-olds. While toys are needed for younger children, monetary donations are accepted in order to purchase gift items for older children and Christmas food baskets.

Monetary donations should be made out to New Opportunities. For more information or to have a monetary donation picked up, please contact John or Linda Andorf at 515-465-5803.

Toys for Tots has been in operation since 1947, when the wife of a U.S. Marine wanted to give a homemade doll to charity. Major William Hendricks could not find a charity that gave Christmas gifts to needy children, so he started his own charity. Thus began the national effort and the birth of Toys for Tots.

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