Toys for Tots application window now open in Jackson County, others to soon follow
JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Jackson County families in need and non-profit organizations looking to help those in need this holiday season can now apply to receive toys from Toys for Tots. Applications opened October 1, 2023 for the Marine Corp Reserve’s holiday campaign.
Last year, the Jackson County program collected around 10,000 toys for children in need. This year volunteers are working hard to make sure Christmas comes to every child’s home.
Lead Coordinator Tracey Powell has been working closely with the program for 18 years. She said watching kids’ faces light up when they receive a toy is priceless.
“You see these kids every year. You watch them grow. Every year the same kids come back, and they remember you. They remember your name and your face, and they are smiling,” Powell said. “So it’s just a memorable occasion to see the kids come in.”
According to Powell, many of the families that benefit from the program continue to apply each year.
“I remember one year when a little boy came in and wanted a toy for his sister who was sick. I’ll never forget the smile on his face when he said, “I don’t want a toy for me, I just want a toy for my sister because she’s sick.”
According to the Toy for Tots website, the national program distributed 24.4 million toys in 2022 to 9.9 million children. Want another impressive number? 50,000 volunteers help out each year!
Powell and her volunteers started working on the program a couple of months ago. They expect even more people to sign up for toys this year due to the tornado that left many families in Moss Point devastated. According to Powell, inflation and current economic conditions are also negatively impacting many household budgets.
The program is also reaching out to non-profits and business owners who want to join the effort.
The organization is holding a fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. You’re asked to wear your favorite football jersey to the event. Learn more at JacksonCountyFootball.ToysForTots.org
“Myself and my team, we’ve been working on this for the last couple of months, so we are excited,” Powell said. “I’m also really excited because the United States Marine Corp Band will be performing at our fundraiser this year. So it’s a big thing that is going to take place in Jackson County this year for Toys for Tots.”
More than 500 guests are expected to attend the event. Food will be provided by Ms. Audrey’s Catering and attendees will also enjoy live entertainment.
To donate, request a toy, or host a toy drive, you can visit the Jackson County Toys for Tots website. The Toy for Tots distribution date is set for December 16th at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.
Registration for other Toys for Tots campaigns across South Mississippi launch at different times. Learn more about the campaigns in Harrison, Hancock, and Stone counties at gulfport-ms.toysfortots.org.
For the Pearl River County campaign visit picayune-ms.toysfortots.org
And for the George County campaign visit george-county-ms.toysfortots.org
Search for any local campaign nationwide at toysfortots.org/find-your-local-chapter
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