Local support needed for Toys for Tots

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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LAPLACE — The U.S. Marine Corps keeps Christmas a time of joy, happiness and goodwill for less fortunate children through Toys for Tots, an annual program that provides holiday gifts to families in St. John the Baptist Parish and across the country.

With St. John Parish severely impacted by Hurricane Ida, it has become more important than ever to garner support for Toys for Tots and ensure children can still experience Christmas magic while families rebuild their lives.

A Toys for Tots distribution will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 18 at East St. John Preparatory Academy in LaPlace. However, it will take the support of the community to make this event a success.

According to the U.S. Marine Corps, local businesses play a key role in housing donation bins for toy drop-offs around the community. Businesses also assist in providing  warehouse space for sorting and storing toys, sponsoring “toy-raising” events and by helping the Toys for Tots program gain maximum exposure.

Local coordinator Alfreda Devare of Revelation Knowledge Outreach Center is looking for new businesses to partner with for the 2021 Toys for Tots program.

“A lot of the businesses that supported me last year were either damaged or closed down after Hurricane Ida. My goal this year is to get new businesses to donate by giving new toys or giving financially so we can purchase the toys to give to the kids this year. We also need locations to place boxes for toy collection,” Devare said.

Devare has already seen an increase in the number of local nonprofits requesting toys through the Toys for Tots program. A local elementary school has also requested toys for its students.

About a month ago, Devare partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps to distribute more than 1,000 toys to local children outside of REGALA Gym in Reserve.

“The parents and the grandparents were so thankful because some of them have lost everything. The kids have lost everything, too. The kids were in the car with them, and they were so excited to have that toy. I know there is a need this year, even more than last year,” Devare said. “We are asking the community to support us in whatever way they can. Hurricane Ida has hurt us, but hopefully we can get what we need for the kids in the community.”

Businesses or individuals who wish to participate in the 2021 Toys for Tots distribution can contact Devare at 985-287-2161 or at st.john.the.baptist.parish.la@toysfortots. Donations may also be submitted through the Toys for Tots website by clicking Menu – Donate Now – Find Your Local Campaign – State – Louisiana – County – St. John the Baptist. This way, all money donated locally will stay within the parish.

To register your child to receive a gift through Toys for Tots, please visit www.toysfortots.org and select “Request a Toy.”