By: Roslyn Flaherty
#ToysForTots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which collects new, unwrapped toys during the months of October, November, and December of each year. They distribute these toys as Christmas gifts to those children who are less fortunate. The Toys for Tots goal is, “to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”
All around the country, there are places where you can drop off toys to be gifted to the less fortunate. In MA, you can drop off toys at places like fitness centers, colleges, and police departments.
Lt. Keith Hough of public safety at Assumption College started a program called “Tickets for Tots” 17 years ago, where students are able to take any parking ticket they have acquired from the beginning of the semester, as long as it’s not a handicap or fire zone violation, and credit that fine if they give a toy with a minimum value of $10 or a $10 minimum cash donation. Students are only allowed to be credited for up to two tickets. “The program was designed to allow students to pay off a parking ticket at a reduced rate, while providing needed aid to the Worcester community during the Christmas season,” says Lt. Hough.
“The money collected is donated in the name of Assumption College or in memory of someone from Assumption College to the T&G Santa Fund…toys (an option instead of money) are also collected and donated to the Marines Toys for Tots,” Lt. Hough says.
Lt. Hough also says that one year they were able to donate toys to the Toys for Tots program, as well as send a car load of toys with representatives from Assumption College to New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.
On December 9th from 9-2, campus police will be in Charlie’s Snack Bar collecting tickets dressed as Christmas characters. Laurie Handscome-Voedisch the public safety administrator on campus says, “there will be an opportunity for people to take pictures with Santa and his helpers…it’s very fun and festive.” Photo opportunities with Santa will be a $1.00 donation.
Senior Nick Guarino says he has gotten 4-5 tickets this semester and that he is going to donate two of them to “Tickets for Tots.” “It’s a great program because I love knowing that I can help a kid out who is less fortunate than I am,” he says.
To find out where you can donate toys in your area visit the Toys for Tots website