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Toys for Tots

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Dungeness Kids Co. to host toy drive and Santa visit Saturday, Nov. 20


By ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette

 

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has been providing Christmas presents to needy children for nearly 20 years.

 

Last year, about 2,000 gifts were distributed in Clallam County alone.

 

With a down economy, the need for toys in the Clallam County area has more than doubled, according to coordinator Daniel Abbott.

 

While a lot of toddler-age gifts have been donated this year, there's still a dire need for middle school age and teen appropriate gifts, he added.

 

A visit from Santa

Dungeness Kids Co. is one of several drop-off locations for toys. The children's store is hosting a special event to collect new and unwrapped toys Saturday, Nov. 20. Santa Claus will be on site to greet children and pose for pictures.

 

Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras, said Susan Baritelle, store owner.

 

Customers who buy and donate a toy will receive an extra 10-percent off their entire purchase, Baritelle added.

 

As a community member and mother, Baritelle has donated toys to the program for years. Now, as a business owner, she encourages others to do the same.

 

When you're doing your own holiday shopping, just grab two of something you buy, one for your child or grandchild and one for somebody in need, she said.

 

Toys will be accepted at the store through Dec. 20.

 

For the greater cause

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October-December each year and distribute the toys as Christmas gifts to children in need.

 

The goal, Abbott said, is to send a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters and ultimately assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens.

 

The program, at the same time, unites community members in a common cause: Developing one of the nation's most valuable resources - its children.

 

Cash donations also are accepted.

 

For more information or to request a toy for your children or children of another family, go online to www.toysfortots.org or call local coordinator Daniel Abbott at 582-3824.

 

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