“We’re hoping to get 50,000 or more toy donations to serve at least 10,000 kids this Christmas,” said Matt Careins, local community organizer for Heard, Haralson, Carroll and Cleburne Counties. “We’ll be having toy drives at Walmart in Carrollton and Bremen every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 16.”
Careins said the drive is also looking for volunteers to help collect toy donations, sort toys and fill orders at distribution time.
“We need members of church and civil groups who are willing to volunteer,” he said. “Since there’s no Marine Corps base or reserve unit locally, we strictly rely on volunteers to do all the work.”
Representatives of the Carroll County Animal Shelter say they also want to help Toys for Tots reach their goal by once again offering deep discounts for for cat and dog adoptions for those who bring in a donation. Beginning yesterday and running through Dec. 22, every person who brings an unwrapped new toy to the shelter can get a dog for $40 or a cat for $20. Normally, the adoption fee for a dog is $115, and for a cat, the fee is $95. All animals adopted out through the Carroll County Animal Shelter are either spayed or neutered. They’re given the necessary vaccinations, and they’re microchipped.
Toys for Tots collects toy donations for children from birth to age 12.
“We always struggle the most with donations for ages 10-12 and birth to 2 years,” he said, “but all toys are appreciated.”
Careins said the toys should be new and not wrapped. They can be put in any of the numerous collection boxes in the area. The collection sites can be found by going online to www.toysfortots.org.
“If anyone wants to volunteer or become a drop box location, they can e-mail me through the website or at email@example.com.
He said the application procedure for children needing toys is different in the various counties.
“Parents of Heard County children apply through the Department of Family and Children Services,” he said. “In other counties, they apply through the school system at any school.”
Careins said the children do not have to be in attendance at the school where application is made.
“Even if the children aren’t school age yet, their parents can still apply at any school,” he said.
The deadline for applications is Dec. 10.
Careins emphasized that Toys for Tots is locally funded for local children.
“All the toys stay right here in west Georgia and Cleburne County, Ala.,” he said.