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Toys for Tots asking for last-minute donations

About 2,646 children registered to receive gifts

December 17, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |

Organizers of the annual Toys for Tots giveaway in Hagerstown on Tuesday are short on toys this year and are seeking some last-minute assistance from the community.

The Salvation Army and the Marine Corps League Bulldog Detachment still need about 200 "substantial" toys to serve the children and families who have applied for assistance through the drive, Salvation Army Maj. Karen Lyle said.

Substantial toys are those too large to go in a stocking, she said.

About 1,400 families have applied for the drive, which provides toys for children up to age 12, Lyle said.

As of Friday, 2,646 children were registered to receive gifts, she said.

"This is the most children we've served in my five Christmases," she said.

Organizers are planning to give each child two substantial toys at the giveaway, she said. Each child will also receive several stocking stuffers and one stuffed animal.

However, they are coming up short in a few age categories, she said. Lyle said they need toys for children ages 1-2 and ages 6-8.

Some Toys for Tots boxes have yet to be picked up, but the majority of the toys have been delivered to the giveaway site at the old CVS in Longmeadow Shopping Center, she said.

The shortage of gifts is not because the community has been any less generous this year, she said.

"We are so appreciative of how most generous everyone has been," she said. "Needs have just surpassed anyone's imagination and expectation."

Lyle said the record number of children registered for the giveaway "tells how bad the economy is" in Washington County.

This year, the drive had fewer sites for toy collection, which could have contributed to the shortage, she said.

In past years, the drive was able to give each child three substantial toys, Lyle said.

Without more donations, the organizations will have a challenge providing every child with two substantial gifts, she said.

Any donation of additional toys will be appreciated, she said.

Lyle said volunteers will be at the giveaway site on Saturday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accept more donations.

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