To help make Christmas a little brighter for everyone this year, Warsaw Community High School FCCLA is once again supporting Trinkets for Teens as it partners with Toys for Tots. By donating to Trinkets for Teens or Toys for Tots at any of the drop-off locations, you can give to those who otherwise might not receive a gift. Pictured (L to R) are: WCHS seniors Kaitlyn Williams, Julia Smith and Kiersten Smith, Trinkets for Teens; and Warsaw Police Dept. Sgt. and former U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. David Morales, Toys for Tots Kosciusko County area coordinator.
Without the community’s support of Toys for Tots and Trinkets for Teens, some area youth might go without a Christmas.
That hasn’t been a problem locally since David Morales started Toys for Tots in Kosciusko County in 1990, the Warsaw Police Dept. sergeant and former U.S. Marine gunnery sergeant said.
“I can’t thank the county enough for being so generous each year – from providing donations to locations, and the wonderful volunteers who provide their support by working long hours to help make someone else’s Christmas a little brighter,” Morales said.
The annual toy drive with WNDU channel 16 is Saturday in the parking lot of the new city hall in downtown Warsaw. On-air personalities Trisha Sloma and David Harker will be there from 7 to 10 a.m., but toys will be collected until 11 a.m. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus also are expected at Saturday’s event.
“The goal is to make sure we take care of everyone,” Morales said.
The Warsaw and Wawasee Select Chorales will provide music during the morning. Morales said the Warsaw Fire Department and other volunteer fire departments always come out and lend a hand. Tippecanoe Valley and Wawasee high schools both support Toys for Tots by having their own toy drives each year, he said.
Martin’s is providing doughnuts, and coffee and hot chocolate also will be donated for the event.
In 2013, Morales said over 270 families were helped by Toys for Tots alone. Over 4,500 kids last year received gifts, and over 8,500 toys were collected.
The community is asked to donate new, unwrapped toys for children ages 6 months to 17 years. Trinkets for Teens helps collect gifts for the older children.
Drop-off boxes for Toys for Tots also can be found until Dec. 15 in Warsaw at Martin’s, both Owen’s locations, Walmart, Menards, CVS, Walgreen’s, Monteith Tire, Reneker’s, Big R, all Dollar General Stores, Family Video, Best Deal Auto, Copper River, State Farm, First Federal Savings Bank, Beacon Credit Union, Dental Solutions, Midwest Eye Consultants, Warsaw Police Department, city hall, Warsaw Community Schools, Biomet and Zoyo’s Yogurt.
Outside of Warsaw, drop-off locations are at The Papers offices, Milford; CVS in Syracuse and North Webster; Dollar General in Syracuse, Milford and Pierceton; Mutual Bank, Syracuse; Family Dollar, Silver Lake, Axiom Compliance Services; and Lizard’s Bar & Grill, Milford.
Monetary donations to Toys for Tots can be dropped off at WPD. Checks can be made to Toys for Tots with “Warsaw, Indiana” in the memo line.
Trinkets for Teens drop-off locations include Cafe Mod North and Cafe Mod East; The Old Leesburg Mill; Big R; Mutual Bank on Center Street, Warsaw; Betty’s Cake Shop; Pottery Bayou; and First Federal Savings Bank.
Willie 103.5 is hosting its eighth annual Toys for Tots toy drive. They are at Big R through today, then will move to Walmart for Thursday and Friday.
Susie McEntire will perform a concert at Lakeview Middle School, Warsaw, at 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Admission is free with a monetary or toy donation for the local Toys for Tots.
The gifts will be delivered to homes Dec. 20.
Sign-up for Toys for Tots is Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at WPD. Sign-ups also were held Monday and Tuesday this week.
Morales said a person who signs up as a recipient must be a resident of Kosciusko County, or surrounding counties on a case-by-case basis if the county they reside in doesn’t have a Toys for Tots program. A person must have full custody of the child(ren) and/or formal guardianship in order to qualify.
“Volunteers are always welcome to help sort and deliver toys,” Morales said. “Also for this Saturday, volunteers are welcome to participate.”
Besides volunteers and toys, he said they also could use heavy-duty trash bags to deliver gifts on Dec. 20. Sizes 33 to 39 gallons are “perfect,” he indicated.
To volunteer or for more information, email morales at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call his cell at 574-549-4457.
“We’re just looking to make everyone’s Christmas brighter with the help of family and friends,” he said. “I appreciate the support of the city of Warsaw for use of their buildings and also the Baker Youth Club for letting us use the old YMCA building for sorting and distributing this year.”
The founder of Toys for Tots was the late Colonel William L. Hendricks, USMCR. In the mid-1940s, Hendricks was the director of public relations for Warner Brothers Studio while a major in the Marine Corps Reserve.
In fall 1947, he, with the assistance of members of his Marine Reserve Unit, collected and distributed toys to needy children of Los Angels, Calif. The first toy was a handmade doll crafted by Hendricks’ wife, Diane.
His pilot project was such a success that the Marine Corps adopted it and expanded it nationwide in 1948. That year, Walt Disney designed the first Toys for Tots poster, which included a miniature three-car train that was subsequently adopted as the Toys for Tots logo.
More information on Toys for Tots is available at toysfortots.org
(Story By The Times Union)