Toys for Tots starts annual drive for holiday joy in Perry

Linda Andorf, left, and John Andorf are the local contacts for the 2022 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.

Andrea Tunink, owner of Ben’s Five and Dime, says the Toys for Tots donation box will be available through Jan. 1.

Collection boxes were placed this week in the annual Toys for Tots campaign in Perry, and donations are encouraged before the collection boxes are taken in on Dec. 2.

“The people of Perry are always extremely generous in our annual toy drive,” said Toys for Tots co-organizer Linda Andorf. “What can warm the heart more than delivering new toys at Christmas and bringing a message of hope to those less fortunate than us?”

The Toys for Tots collection boxes were set up around Perry earlier this month and can still be found at the Perry Perk coffeehouse, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Hy-Vee, Orscheln Farm and Home, Percival Scientific, Ben’s Five and Dime, Perry Public Library, Van Wall Equipment and the Hotel Pattee. Hy-Vee will also run its Toys for Tots round-up Nov. 14-25.

The donation boxes will be collected on Friday, Dec. 2 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 Dec. 8-9 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.

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