Collection boxes are now available around Perry for the annual Toys for Tots campaign, and donations are encouraged before the collection boxes are taken in on Dec. 1.
Toys for Tots co-organizer John Andorf said more than 400 children received Toys for Tots gifts last year, and even more are expected this year.
“This is a great way to make Christmas a little brighter for the less fortunate among us,” Andorf said.
The Toys for Tots collection boxes were set up around Perry last week and can be found at the Perry Perk coffeehouse, Fareway, Dollar General, Hy-Vee, Tractor Supply, Percival Scientific, Ben’s Five and Dime, Perry Public Library, Van Wall Equipment and the Family Credit Union.
The donation boxes will be collected on Friday, Dec. 1 although Ben’s Five and Dime’s box will be available until Jan. 1. The gifts will be combined with others received from the U.S. Marine Corps and some from a storage unit donated by Peters Service.
The New Opportunities Dallas County Family Development Center at 2816 First Ave. in Perry manages the applications for Toys for Tots program. Applications are available at New Opportunities and will be accepted until Nov. 15.
John and Linda Andorf of Perry serve as the local contacts and organizers of the donations and distribution. The gifts will be distributed to families in the first week of December at the Perry Elks Lodge.
New and unwrapped toys are needed for local children, from infants to 14-year-olds. While toys are needed for younger children, monetary donations and gift cards are recommended 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 the Andorfs 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.