Several Laramie agencies and businesses are helping provide children in financially struggling families with toys for Christmas by serving as a donation site for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots, Albany County Coordinator Timothy Brooks said.
“The whole program is designed to make sure that every child gets a present for Christmas — that is the whole idea that the Marine Corp has put out,” Brooks said.
Residents of Albany County supported the program in 2016 by proving hundreds of children with toys, he said.
There are more than 50 sites around Laramie where people can drop off donations until Dec. 10, Brooks said.
“Laramie has consistently been a very giving community and we always get enough toys to meet the needs of our community,” he said. “(In 2016), we gave gifts to just over 600 children, over 234 families. I am hoping that we can service about 250 families this year.”
Brooks said to decide which families are eligible, the program is partnering with Interfaith-Good Samaritan, which is providing families with applications for receiving the toy donations. By changing how the organization accepts applications, Toys for Tots volunteers have more time to sort the donations and get them ready for the children, he said.
“What I do is I go through Interfaith-Good Samaritan and they basically do the applications for me (to determine which families are in need),” Brooks said. “Before, getting the donations ready was very hurried because we collected applications the day before the gifts were distributed.”
Brooks said he is going to need volunteers to come to the Eppson Center for Seniors and help get the donations sorted by type and what age they are appropriate for before being distributed Dec. 15.
“I could use help at the Eppson Center on Dec. 12-14 packaging and making the bags for the families,” he said.
“It is not hard work — all you have to do is (help) sort and lay out all the toys to give to the kids.”
Go to www.laramie-wy.toysfortots.org for more information about on how to volunteer, donation bin locations and how to apply for the program.