Toys for Tots, CAC kick off Christmas preparations
By Sarah Einselen
The Galion Kiwanis Club is collecting toys in its annual Toys for Tots campaign to provide new toys for low-income Galion families to give to children at Christmas. Toys for Tots co-organizer Robyn Minnear anticipates increased participation this year, meaning the Kiwanis club will need as many donations as possible to fill the need.
“We are very, very low on toy inventory and really need the help,” Minnear said. “We usually have to do a lot of the shopping on our own out of our budget and that is tough sometimes.”
Last year, over 200 families signed up through the Ohio Heartland Community Action Center on Buehler Street to shop at the Toys for Tots “store,” a temporary setup in the rear of Dr. Tom Fellner’s office in Uptowne. The 300 children that received Christmas gifts through the program were 12 years old or under. More than 50 families have already signed up this year.
Toys for boys are hard to come by, Minnear said. She and co-organizer Angie Owens suggested sports equipment, like basketballs, and toy trucks and cars for them. Dolls, Legos® and games are also likely to be in demand.
Toys for Tots was overrun with stuffed animals last year, so the organizers ask that donors look for alternative toys. Any toys donated should be new, not gift-wrapped and worth no more than $10.
The items are left unwrapped on the Toys for Tots shelves so that parents may select what they think will be suitable for their children. Kiwanis provides black bags for parents to hide the toys in until they can wrap them at home.
Drop-off boxes for Toys for Tots are located at the following Galion businesses: Galion Building & Loan (both offices), First Federal Bank of Ohio (both offices), US Bank, United Bank, First Merit Bank, Firelands Federal Credit Union, Wilson Insurance, Dollar General East, Dollar General West, Family Dollar, Geyer’s, Charlie’s Market, Drug Mart, Verizon (Uptowne), Galion Chamber of Commerce and The Body Shop.
Donors who would prefer to give money to Toys for Tots may do so by calling (419) 468‑4285 or (419) 468‑2629.
What about children older than 12?
Ohio Heartland Community Action Center provides other programs to provide Christmas gifts for families, especially those with children over age 12 who cannot participate in Toys for Tots. Community members may sign up to “adopt” a family and provide that family with gift items. “OHCAC interviews low-income families and matches them up with families, churches, businesses, groups, etc. who want to adopt,” according to Jill Lee, OHCAC director. Families needing assistance or anyone looking to adopt may contact the OHCAC at (419) 468‑5121. The OHCAC also accepts donations of toys or funds to buy them for children over age 12.