Right now is the best time to donate toys or money for toys to the Toys for Tots program.
The many good people and organizations that help make that a seasonal success need to know, as early as possible, how many toys they can expect to fill the needs of children.
Toys for Tots is a great program that typifies the Spirit of Christmas. It tries to ensure all children will have some merry cheer on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day by receiving gifts.
A feature story by Newsleader writer Cori Hilsgen in today’s Newsleaders gives an interesting background of Toys for Tots. Her story also announces the new coordinator for the program – St. Joseph resident Bob Ringstrom, a consultant business owner and former police chief of Sartell.
Ringstrom, with his heart of gold and his jolly disposition, is a perfect choice for coordinator. A U.S. Marine veteran, Ringstrom coordinates the program, which includes 250 drop-box sites in the greater St. Cloud area and other central Minnesota cities.
The St. Cloud Area Toys for Tots provides toys for more than 3,000 children whose parents or parent are in tight economic straits. It works in conjunction with Catholic Charities and the St. Cloud Salvation Army.
The current Toys for Tots campaign began Nov. 6, and Marine volunteers will keep collecting toys up until Dec. 8, although some drop-off locations will keep their toy boxes available after that date. Any toys collected after Dec. 8 will be used for next year’s distribution.
The Toys for Tots program started in 1947 when Marine Major Bill Hendricks, with the help of Marine veterans, collected more than 5,000 toys for children in the Los Angeles area. The idea occurred to Hendricks’ wife, Diane, one day when she was sewing a Raggedy Ann doll. The program is now based in Leesburg, Va.
We like this quote from Bob Ringstrom: “The idea is to reach as many children as possible. Toys for Tots is narrowly conceived to bring light into the lives of children who are not so fortunate as many of us during the season of giving. It (Toys for Tots) can help them understand they don’t necessarily have to go without in a world that has so much. It’s also an important way for parents and family to be warmed by seeing the joy their children can also be part of. It can be a strong influence on young lives that everything isn’t a disappointment.”
Thanks, Mr. Ringstrom, for such touching words of wisdom.
Those who want to donate toys or money to Toys for Tots can visit the following website: toysfortots.org or its Facebook page at facebook.com/StCloudMarineToys4Tots. Catholic Charities accepts the names of the children needing toys and then the families can “shop” for the free toys at Catholic Charities’ headquarters in St. Cloud. Catholic Charities is always seeking volunteers to help with the toys and distribution. To volunteer, call that organization at 320-229-4560.
It’s so easy to make a kid happy on Christmas. All it takes is a toy or two, so please give generously to Toys for Tots during the next two weeks, before Dec. 8.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.