Time for donations is running short

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

Time is running out to donate to the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve campaign that brightens the lives of children and families at Christmas.

It might be 18 days until Christmas, but Toys for Tots organizers will stop taking donations before then, so that what they have collected can be handed over to Santa in time.

Suffolk’s Toys for Tots coordinator, John Woleben, said that next Friday, Dec. 14, is about the last day folks can purchase a toy and leave at a drop location.

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One convenient drop spot is at Duke Automotive on North Main Street. The car dealership is collecting toys in the back of a Chevy Silverado parked on the showroom floor through Dec. 19, and owner Eley Duke hopes to push donations past 600 toys.

He has one loyal helper in this quest — his son Parker Duke, 6. Eley Duke said his son uses his pocket money to buy toys to donate to the campaign. Parker earns $5 a week doing household chores.

Suffolk Public Schools is also collecting toys for the campaign. Toys can be taken to your child’s school — call the district’s public information officer Bethanne Bradshaw at 925-6752 for more information.

One school, Kilby Shores Elementary, has announced it will start a Toys for Tots drive on Monday. Folks are invited to bring in new toys through Thursday. It almost goes without saying, but it has to be said anyway — don’t bring the toys you get with McDonald’s Happy Meals.

A special “Crew Hop” dance will be held at Kilby Shores next Friday as a reward for students donating toys.

Toys can also be left at the Chesapeake Square Toys R Us, 4120 Portsmouth Blvd., Chesapeake.

Toys for Tots is also full steam ahead in Isle of Wight County, where Elizabeth Moose is the local coordinator.

There are several county locations where folks can drop toys before it’s too late:

  • Knox Automotive Center, 21301 Brewers Neck Blvd., Carrollton
  • State Farm (Sherry Vincent), Suite D, 15141 Carrollton Blvd., Carrollton
  • A.J. Gators, 13609 Carrollton Blvd., Carrollton
  • Smithfield High School, 14171 Turner Drive, Smithfield
  • Farmers Bank, 1119 S. Church St., Smithfield
  • State Farm (Ronnie Whitehead), 18476 Canteberry Lane, Smithfield

Another option is the Suffolk News-Herald’s Cheer Fund, which raises money for Suffolk’s Toys for Tots campaign. To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to our office, 130 S. Saratoga St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like. Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your picture as you hand it to one of our staff. For more information, call 934-9616.