About 500 children were the recipients of Christmas gifts last year through the local Toys for Tots program, and organizers expect that number to rise to about 600 this year, Hillsboro Rotarians learned Tuesday.
Highland County Toys for Tots Coordinator Rebecca Barnes said parents or guardians can register for toys for their children from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 7, 8 and 9 at Samaritan Outreach Services, 537 N. East St., Hillsboro. Parents or guardians should bring a photo I.D. and a Medicaid card for each child in the household. If children are not on Medicaid but parents feel they should qualify for the toy program, some exceptions can be made, officials said.
Toys will be distributed by appointment on Dec. 19.
Barnes, who was introduced by her husband, Rotarian Todd Barnes, said the program’s goal is to provide a toy valued at about $25 for each child.
The toys are obtained via donations, and both Barnes and Samaritan Outreach Director Wade Hamilton urged local residents to drop off toys at one of several locations in Hillsboro, Greenfield, Leesburg, Mowrystown, Rainsboro and Sinking Spring. A complete list of drop sites can be found at www.hillsboro-oh.toysfortots.org and selecting “Find local toy drop off information.”
Monetary donations are also welcome and can be made online or by mailing a check to Toys for Tots, P.O. Box 242, Hillsboro, Ohio, 45133. Several businesses will also have boxes for monetary donations.
Hamilton said Toys for Tots is a project of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. According to material provided by the organization, in 1947 Maj. Bill Hendricks – with the support of members of his Los Angeles Marine Corps Reserve unit – collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The program was so successful that in 1948 the Marine Corps adopted it and expanded it nationwide. More than 470 million toys have been distributed over the years through the program.
Hamilton said that all toys donated locally will “stay right here” and be delivered to local children.
Hamilton said that a holiday program will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at Southern State Community College, with admission being one toy donated at the door for Toys for Tots.
More information can be found at www.hillsboro-oh.toysfortots.org or by calling 937-393-2220.