The J.C. Paul Detachment of the Marine Corps League has taken on one of the Corps’ biggest missions, organizing and executing the local “Toys for Tots” Campaign.
Greg Sims, Commandant of the detachment, said the organization has teamed up with 25 local businesses and organizations to collect toys and/or donations to the effort.
“I will take as many locations as I can get,” Sims said. “The more locations I’ve got, the more opportunities I have to collect toys.”
“If nothing else, it is a great advertising tool for the Marines, the league and the business.”
Working with Mountain Outreach and other local nonprofit organizations, the league will be collecting and distributing the toys to children in Whitley, Laurel, Knox and McCreary counties. The first distribution is scheduled for Dec. 9.
“We will collect right up until Christmas Eve,” Sims said.
Sims said the detachment is facing a problem of numbers at the moment and is seeking volunteers to help.
The detachment, which formed earlier this year, is in the infant stages in terms of membership.
As a result, volunteers are being sought to help collect and sort the toys.
Sims said the first toys would begin arriving at a small warehouse in Williamsburg Saturday.
The toys will be sorted by sex and age appropriateness.
In addition, volunteers are needed to go to the drop off locations to retrieve the donated toys.
Sims said even if someone can volunteer to keep up with one location, it would help.
“I lost two or three drop points from last year because the toys were not picked up,” Sims said.
The volunteer(s) would be responsible for collecting the toys and bringing them to the warehouse in Williamsburg.
Sims said if someone can pick up the toys but can’t make the trip to Williamsburg, he is willing to work with the person to arrange a meeting time/place.
Sims emphasized that while the league is working to grow and expand the Toys for Tots Program in the area, the members understand there are other groups and organizations with a similar mission.
“We are not here to take over. We are here to augment,” Sims said. “If you are doing a program and run out of toys, call me.”
“The goal is simple. Get toys! Get rid of toys!”
Donations to the program are welcomed and encouraged, Sims said.
In addition to toys, Sims said monetary donations may be made.
All proceeds to the local program will be used locally.
Donations may be given to any member of the detachment.
In addition https://www.toysfortots.org provides a donation link that permits the donor to specify either the national or a specific local campaign to receive the money.
“They don’t take anything out,” Sims said.
Additional information including how to volunteer drop off locations and applications to receive a toy through the program, are also available on the website.
“We need individuals and groups to help us grow this program,” Sims said. “We hope to have a steady group.”
The chapter, currently based at the Elks Lodge in Corbin, is named in honor of Marine Corporal Joe C. Paul, a Whitley County native. Paul earned the Congressional Medal of Honor when he was killed on Aug. 18, 1965 while attempting to rescue five fellow Marines who had been wounded and were trapped by enemy fire.
The Marine Corps League is open to all Marines, whether the Marine is on active duty, in the reserves or has been honorably discharged.