Veterans Corner: Some tweaks to Toys For Tots in 2020

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The 2020 Marine Toys for Tots program for Clallam county will be different this year, as COVID-19 has changed the rules for the program locally and nationally.

In more normal times, the Mount Olympus detachment of the Marine Corps League coordinates toy collections and donations with other Veterans Service Organizations with manned collection stations at both Sequim and Port Angeles Walmarts and Swain’s General Store. These have been cancelled this year, as there is no way to ensure safeguards against the virus at any large gatherings.

“This year, the program will be buying toys online and from local suppliers, so the need is for financial support so that our buying power can replace the loss in toys donated locally,” coordinator Steve Deutermann said.

While there will be collection boxes in some businesses, the limited access to the public will result in a need to purchase toys to serve the more than 3,000 children who annually receive this bit of Christmas and who will continue to need gifts.

The program supports non-profit child welfare agencies in their efforts to have a happy Christmas and includes LIFT Court families, Peninsula College Veteran’s support, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Peninsula Foster parents, church groups, tribal groups and others.

“We will do our best in the honorable tradition established by the Marine Corps Reserve to ensure every child in need receives a little bit of Christmas joy,” Deutermann said.

To find toy collection boxes, visit the Toys for Tots website at www.toysfortots.org and select “Washington State Clallam County.”

To contribute to the program, please send checks made out to: Marine Toys for Tots. Mail to: MCL Det 897, PO Box 3281, Sequim WA 98382.

Thanks for the space

Many thanks to the Shipley Center, Sequim’s senior center, for allowing Sarge’s Place and the Veterans Center Clothes Closet to have unsold items to help the veterans through the winter. We so appreciate the donations from many folks who have left coats, etc., on my porch.

Winter is coming and we can always use warm, washable coats, gloves, jeans and sweatshirts — gently used, please.

Email me at cdrlgilchrist@gmail.com for pickup, or call me at 360-683-6419. We need women’s clothes as well as men’s.

The Clothes Closet also has non-perishable food, shoes/boots, socks, etc. You can get things Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. by asking at the Veterans Center.

Veterans Day ceremony online

Please remember to go online to the Veterans center facebook page: www.facebook.com/nwvrc to see today’s (Nov. 11) Veterans Day Ceremony at Pioneer Memorial Park in Sequim starting at 10 a.m. — or any time.

Many thanks to the Veterans Center staff for filming and streaming this event.

Outpouring for wreaths program

Judy and I are overwhelmed with the response of our community in support of Wreaths Across America at the Sequim View Cemetery. We have made our wreath goal and any wreaths purchased now will go toward next year.

We are looking for a Merchant Marine to lay the wreath on the Merchant Marine veteran’s grave during the ceremony.

Please contact me if you can help us: cdrlgilchrist@gmail.com or 360-683-6419.

The ceremony is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, will also be on the Veterans Center facebook page (www.facebook.com/nwvrc). Save the date!

Gift shop requests

The American Legion Auxiliary Gift Shop at the Washington State Veterans Home at Retsil will also be different this year. The residents will be writing down their requests for gifts for their families and we will shop for them. I am going to be taking training, get COVID-19 tested and background checked to work in the gift shop the week after Thanksgiving.

We are in need of gifts — boxes of candy, soft throws, gifts sets for men and women or money so I can go buy needed items. All these gifts will have cards, be gift wrapped and mailed at no expense to the residents.

This is a way we can help them have a more normal Christmas with their families … especially this year, since they have not been able to see them in person.

Please contact me if you have a contribution at cdrlgilchrist@gmail.com or 360-683-6419.

Thank you for your support of these veterans and their families. Some of them are from Sequim!

Contributors: American Legion, Paul Renick, grennanalpost62@gmail.com; MOAA and Voices For Veterans, Lorri Gilchrist, cdrlgilchrist@gmail.com; Marine Corps League, Mark Schildknecht, marana-s@outlook.com; Korean War Veterans, Jerry Rettela, eletteor@msn.com; VFW 4760, Steve Henrikson, secretary@vfwpost4760.com; VFW 6787, Rod Lee, sealteam54@q.com.

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