The Marines of Marine Corps League Detachment (MCL) 1438 of Blue Ridge are in the beginning stages of their second Toys for Tots Campaign and are planning to make the 2017 campaign an even greater success than their inaugural campaign.
The Toys for Tots Campaign of 2016, the first to be conducted in Fannin County, collected over 1200 toys and $9000 in cash. Cash donations were used to purchase toys requested but not donated. Over 1700 toys were distributed to 545 children in Fannin County. From bicycles to baby dolls, from toy trucks and cars to building blocks, from board games to puzzles, no request was turned away.
“Every request was filled to the best of our ability and within the guidelines of the National Toys for Tots Organization,” said local area coordinator, Jim Brumbelow. “We can only accept new, unwrapped toys valued at $15 or greater and, unfortunately, we can only provide toys for younger children and personal care items for older children,” Brumbelow continued.
Toys for Tots national guidelines also prohibit the accepting or distributing of clothing and foodstuffs.
Additionally, the Marines were able to accommodate several special requests from neighboring Union and Gilmer Counties.
The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program began in 1947 by wives and friends of Marines who were deployed. The program is the only program administered by a branch of the armed services and the CEO reports directly to the Commandant of the Marine Corps in Washington, DC.
Today, there are over 800 campaign offices distributing over 16,000,000 toys to over 7,000,000 children. Impressively, all of this is accomplished with no paid staff and every toy collected and 97 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to children.
In Fannin County, collection boxes are located in such locations as The Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad; North Georgia Boat Lift and Marine Construction; Tractor Supply; Circle J Family Restaurant, Mercier Orchards; Bank of the Ozarks; TruFitness Blue Ridge and Fannin County Co-Op as well as a number of churches and businesses through out town.
Any business wishing to be a collection point should contact Mr. Brumbelow at (404)405-5024. Volunteers in the project do not have to be Marines. Toys for Tots welcomes everyone.
Businesses, civic associations or just groups of friends who would like to collect toys as part of their Holiday festivities can contact Mr. Brumbelow as well to coordinate a pickup of the toys.
A “Stuff the Truck” initiative will be conducted on Friday, November 24th, the Friday after Thanksgiving at Wal-Mart in Blue Ridge and a primary fundraiser will also be conducted at Grumpy Old Men Brewing in Blue Ridge that same day.
“Toys for Tots is just one of the key focus areas for the members of MCL Detachment 1438” said Detachment Commandant, Jeff O’Neil. “We also focus on supporting the Shepherd’s Men SHARE Initiative coordinated by the Shepherds Center in Atlanta as well as supporting, where possible, local community outreach projects.”