The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots for Southeastern Tulare County joined in on the popular donation drive-thru model when it hosted the first of two toy drives Friday afternoon.
Toys for Tots continues the drive-thru today at 368 East Date Avenue, where people can come by and donate brand new toys or money for children. The first 25 to donate will also receive a Toys for Tots memento bag.
Last year, the Southeastern Tulare County Toys for Tots distributed 9,397 toys to 7,676 children in Porterville and its surrounding cities. Coordinator Grace Munoz Rios expects at least the same number of children to be referred or apply for gifts this year, and because of COVID, she already knows how much more meaningful this drive will be.
“Last couple years if it wasn’t the drought, it was the economy back in 2008,” she said. “It’s always been some kind of drastic thing. So here, with the COVID, OK, one more thing. It’s really going to be a challenge to make sure that we have enough toys for all the kids because when I contacted the schools, they said, ‘Oh yes, the children need this.’ They really need this because of the way they’ve had to stay home and do online, for us to do Toys for Tots, they jumped at the chance to do it again.”
Along with donating through today’s drive-thru, people can also have two online options available. People can go to porterville-ca.toysfortots.org and select “Donate Local” to donate money, or if they’d like to purchase a bundle of toys from HDI Wholesale, they can choose one at https://hdiforu.com/index.php/donate.html and use the code “CAPORT” at checkout to have the toys shipped directly to the organization.
Munoz Rios said fundraising would be a challenge this year, but they’re prepared to create other ways to get toys, like working with HDI Wholesale, who is matching donation purchases.
“We’re just going to have to up our game,” Munoz Rios said. “Come up with more inventive ways to collect toys. Like that one vendor came up with that bundle special.”
In their times of need, Munoz Rios said the organization has always been able to count on the area to step up and help.
“The Porterville area has been really good to us,” she said. “Every year it looks like oh my God, oh my God. And then at the end, we have enough for a waiting list. So that tells us people do care, and they want children to have something for Christmas.”
for more information, contact Munoz Rios at 559-544-1775 or email@example.com.