The annual U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has been under way since November, and according to local organizers, Newton County is running low on donations.
Paula Mitchell, assistant coordinator of the Jasper/Newton County chapter of the program, said Neosho residents express the most need in the county, though they have donated very little.
“We’re getting a lot more calls from Neosho than we’re getting donations in,” Mitchell said.
However, Mitchell said there is still plenty of time to donate, and collection bins are setup throughout the county, at Walgreen’s, Dollar General stores, and Walmart.
The program collects toys for children ages 0-18, as well as monetary donations that volunteers also use to purchase toys.
Mitchell said last Christmas, the local chapter distributed approximately 6,000 gifts to children in Newton and Jasper counties.
“Our only goal is to help children have a decent Christmas,” Mitchell said.
The Toys for Tots program does not accept movies, video games or music, due to concerns about age appropriate gifts, and that the children may not have the devices to use those new gifts.
They do collect books, but ask that those also be appropriate.
Mitchell said currently, the group is experiencing a shortage in gifts for teenagers.
Her suggestions for teenage gifts include cologne, gift sets, perfume, footballs, makeup and bath sets.
She said there have also been several requests for bicycles for children.
Families in need of assistance should contact organizers at 417-291-6594 or 417-540-0938.
Mitchell said there are only a few requirements. Parents must state a need, provide a valid phone number and address, the children must be 18 or under, and the children must live in the home. Further information, such as social security number, is not requested.