Toys for Tots Marathon Drive

December 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The Toys for Tots marathon drive kicked off Friday morning and every single donation counts.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Click here for more information on Toys for Tots
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Organizers said there's a big shortage this year, which could mean thousands of needy children won't get a gift. Your donation is needed now more than ever.

Sergeant Jeremiah Noble is a professional soldier, but these days he's an expert in all things toy-related, from bikes to Barbie. As the Marine Corps' coordinator for Toys for Tots, he's also become quite the bargain hunter. "I have organizations that I work with and I can order from them in bulk. And it's a lot cheaper, a lot cheaper. We get 40 to 60 percent off."

That means the Marines can double every dollar donated to Toys for Tots. If you're a business your money goes even further: Pelco has promised to match any business checks. And this year, Toys for Tots will need to stretch that money as far as possible. The Marines received orders for 160,000 toys. At last check, they only had 12,000.

They've already cut back on the drive to exclude older kids. "Normally we'd have 12 and up but we're not, we don't have enough to support that this year. "

The United Way's Linda Dippel can't stand the thought of any kid going without this Christmas. "It's very, very important for every child to have that little bit of Christmas hope and spirit that they can live with for the rest of the year."

The Toys for Tots Marathon Weekend kicks off this weekend. You can help by donating a new, unwrapped toy. And remember the best part is, if you don't have the time to shop, cash makes double the difference!

Friday through Sunday, you can drop off toys anytime in Fresno at the River Park Shopping Center. In Visalia, drop off toys at the Gottschalks at Visalia Mall until 10 p-m, and at Gottschalks at the Olive Wood Shopping Center.

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