Tots for Toys collecting gifts for county's children

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 03:52 AM

Toys for Tots, the 71-year-old Christmas toy project for children sponsored by the United States Marines is underway in Rutherford County. 

This Christmas season every toy that is donated through Toys for Tots will be given to a child in the county, thanks to the hard work of the Marines. 

After all the toys are collected they will be delivered for distribution by the Salvation Army Christmas Cheer Center in Forest City.

Coordinating the Toys for Tots is Sgt. Major Don Barrett USMC (Ret.), the MCJROTC at R-S Central High School and members of the Marine Corps League, Cpl. Chris S. Ebert Detachment 1221.

Barrett attended a coordinator's training conference at Quantico recently to receive information and instruction regarding the 2013 local toy drive.

"What is given here stays here," said Barrett at Big Lots in Spindale on Wednesday afternoon.

Barrett, Ret. Gunnery Sgt. Bill Swope and Marine Dwayne Vickers were at Big Lots promoting the annual toy drive. 

In the past Toys for Tots that were collected in Rutherford County were distributed in other parts of the state and country. But this year Barrett, Swope, other Marines and JROTC members are collecting the toys that will remain in the county. 

Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by the U.S. Marine Corps with the objective to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas. 

"We're a part of the distribution for the Salvation Army Christmas Cheer Center," Swope said. 

The Christmas Cheer Center is moving into the Storehouse Pantry in the Tri-City Mall next week, said Pat Evans from the pantry.

 In addition to finding locations of the boxes, there are several different places on the website for monetary donations and other information regarding Toys for Tots such as locations of the boxes, a request for boxes and toys. 

"We need more than toys," Barrett said. Monetary donations will be used to buy specific gifts if they are requested. All the money will stay in Rutherford County.

There are large boxes for toys in numerous places in the county and any business wishing to have a collection box can call (828) 748-9360 or visit the website: to request a box.