Toy drives, registration set for annual Toys for Tots campaign

ENID, Okla. — The application period for this year's Toys for Tots program is Nov. 21-23, 2019, and donors and volunteers are needed to help local families provide gifts for their children this Christmas.

The program, a function of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, collects new, unwrapped gifts for families who have applied for assistance and distributes the gifts in time for Christmas.

Registration for Toys for Tots will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 21-23 at 108 S. Independence in Enid.

Families cannot bring children with them to the registration, and must bring photo identification and proof of residence. A birth certificate or some other form of identification with name and birth date for each child in the household, and proof of household income, such as a pay stub or tax return, also are required.

Local Toys for Tots coordinator Gail Wheeler said unwrapped toys and gifts are needed for the program, especially items appropriate for older children.

"Everyone donates for the young kids," Wheeler said, "but we always have a need for gift items for kids ages 10 and up."

Volunteers will be busy this weekend distributing more than 100 donation boxes around Enid and surrounding communities, with an emphasis on local businesses and fire stations.

Wheeler said she hopes to have all the boxes in place by Nov. 10, the Marine Corps birthday.

In addition to the donation boxes, two local toy drive events also are set for the coming weeks.

Janes Machine Shop, 421 S. Grand, will host the 26th annual Toys for Tots Car Show and Toy Collection, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 23.

Owner Dustin Janes said the car show and toy drive has long been an annual holiday tradition in Enid.

"It's just a way I can give back to the community, and help those in need and their kids," Janes said. "A lot of people can't afford to buy Christmas gifts, and I like to help out."

Janes said cars and motorcycles are welcome at the show, and free food and drinks will be offered. Attendees are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

Cycle Ward, 319 N. Independence, also will host a holiday customer appreciation event and toy collection, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7.

The event, free and open to the public, will include food and drinks, door prizes and photos with Santa. Attendees are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

Sheri Pitts, a manager at Cycle Ward, said the event is a way for the business to give back to people in need in the community.

"We've done it ever since we've been open," Pitts said. "We just like to do our community service."

In addition to buying and donating toys, monetary donations also help Toys for Tots fill gaps and specific needs for families in the program.

Checks can be sent to Toys for Tots at 225 Oklahoma Street, Lahoma, OK, 73754.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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