The JC Paul Detachment of the Marine Corps League, which organizes the annual Toys for Tots Campaign that serves Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties, is expecting a large increase in the number of children in need in 2020, and is seeking the community’s help as it gears up for the effort.
Greg Sims, Commandant of the Detachment, said COVID–19 is hurting the effort at both ends. In addition to increasing the number of children, it has hampered the detachment’s fundraising efforts. In an effort to meet the organization’s needs, the detachment is asking for the public’s help.
“We have been forced to cancel several fundraisers and we need your donations to help us make Christmas happen,” detachment officials wrote on the Toys for Tots: Laurel and Whitley Co. Kentucky Facebook page.
Sims said when the detachment expanded its reach for the Toys for Tots Campaign and picked up Knox County, it was unable to add Knox County to the name on its Facebook page.
The detachment is asking area businesses and organizations to consider making a donation, or holding a fundraising event.
“We are already in big trouble!” Sims said noting that fundraising is down about 70 percent compared to 2019.
Donations of any amount may be made to help the local campaign through the national Toys for Tots website.
It goes directly to the foundation, and then, based on the donor’s zip code, it goes to the local campaign,” Sims explained emphasizing that 100 percent of such donations are forwarded on to help the local effort.
“There is no administration fee,” Sims said.
Other donation options include sending a check directly to the JC Paul Detachment at 529 Letha Petrey Road, Williamsburg, Ky, 40769.
“The more we raise, the more toys we can buy,” Sims said.
While direct donation of toys does help, Sims said monetary donations are better as it allows the detachment to purchase needed toys.
“We get inundated with toys primarily for girls ages eight to twelve,” Sims said of toy donations. “We have nothing for infants up to five years old, and nothing for ages 11 to 16. Those are our weak spots.”
In addition, Sims said it is not widely known that there is a large number of individuals with disabilities in their late teens and early 20’s who receive toys through Toys for Tots. Monetary donations allow the detachment to purchase needed toys for those individuals.
While the Toys for Tots campaign officially kicks off on Oct. 1, Sims said members of the detachment will be attending a training session in September. As part of that, a number of national toy vendors will be present and offering deals on toys.
Toys for Tots is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity. Because of that, all donations to the charity are tax-deductible.
More information is available by contacting Sims at (606) 549-4083