While Toys for Tots collects toys and donations year-round, it goes all out for their collection efforts over the holiday season.

While Toys for Tots collects toys and donations year-round, it goes all out for their collection efforts during the holiday season. There are 350 collection boxes and donation cans that can be found at local retail stores, doughnut shops, different organizations, Chamber Safety Council and many other locations around the county.

It accepts only new and unwrapped toys.

Robert S. Harris, coordinator for the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots program for Stark County, has been collecting and distributing toys for kids aged 0 to 12 for more than 25 years. He’s getting ready to retire in January but said the Toys for Tots in Stark County will continue with a new coordinator.

“On average the program distributes 39,000 to 45,000 toys to area organizations per year,” Harris said. “Each child receives three age appropriate toys. We work through seven local non-profits in the county such as A Community Christmas, various Salvation Army locations and the Total Living of Center of Canton who help serve families in need all over the county.”

In 2018, there were 52,473 toys distributed to help support 8,932 children county wide.

Harris served in the United States Marines and he said he took on the job of coordinator for Toys for Tots because of his love of working for kids. He works with 20 volunteers to get the toys collected and distributed.

“We can always use more volunteers to help sort the toys which is done by age groups and by toys for boys and girls. We need more volunteers with pickup trucks, vans or SUVs that can pickup toys from the donation boxes and bring them to the warehouse,” Harris said.

“Businesspeople and everyone in Stark County has helped Toys for Tots tremendously over the years. I just want to say thank you to all of them for their help.”

According to www.toysfortots.org, The mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is to assist the U. S. Marine Corps in providing a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas. This assistance includes providing day-to-day leadership and oversight of the Program, raising funds to provide toys to supplement the collections of local Toys for Tots Campaigns, to provide promotional and support material and defray the costs of conducting annual Toys for Tots Campaigns. Other Foundation support includes providing administrative, advisory, financial, logistic and promotional support to local Toys for Tots Coordinators; managing funds raised and monies donated based on the use of Toys for Tots name or logo; providing other support the Marine Corps, as a federal agency, cannot provide; and conducting public education and information programs about Toys for Tots that call the general public to action in support of this patriotic community action program.