ST. GEORGE — Operations are in full swing to bring Christmas to youngsters in need all across Washington County through the Toys for Tots program, a campaign that has brought holiday joy to more than 200 million children nationwide. This year, the initiative is also put on to pay tribute to a retired U.S. Marine who led the toy program for more than a decade and who died unexpectedly last year.
To that end, a Toys for Tots Show and Shine Car Show is being held Saturday at Carquest-Beau’s Auto Parts located at 920 N. 2100 West in St. George from noon to 3 p.m.
Customs, classics, hot rods, Mopars, rat rods, motorcycles and any other collectible vehicle is welcome to join the street party to be held in the parking lot of the auto parts facility. The cost to register for the event registration is an unwrapped toy.
The community event is hosted with the goal of helping kids in need while providing the perfect environment to check out rows of classic, shined-up beauties — a combination that has been successful for more than a decade. Festivities will also include music, food, children’s activities and possibly even a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Kids can also write letters to Santa listing their Christmas wishes.
Another purpose behind the community car show is to honor Rick Massey a U.S. Marine gunnery sergeant who served as the Toys for Tots program coordinator for more than 15 years. His efforts, as well as those in the Marine Corps League No. 1270, helped bring Christmas toys to more than 5,000 Washington County children since the program’s inception.
During last year alone the program collected over 7,300 toys and books that were wrapped and presented to more than 2,500 children throughout Washington County.
Pam Curtis, the program’s new program coordinator, is at the helm this year and is leading the group of toy-collecting titans who have already been busy setting up drop-off locations throughout Washington County, where members of the community can drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned at hundreds of local businesses.
Coordinators pick up these toys and store them in a warehouse where the items are sorted by age and gender. At Christmas, coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups and other local community agencies qualified to identify the needy children in the community distribute the toys to less fortunate children.
Items the program is running short on this year include infant toys and age-specific items for teenagers, Curtis said. Donations are also being used to purchase gift cards and other items for the older youth participating in the program.
The toys collected will then be presented to families throughout the community. A complete list of donation locations can be found in the gallery and on the organization’s Facebook page.
Toys for Tots
The Toys for Tots program was officially adopted by the Marine Corps in 1948. Since that time, more than 452 million toys have been distributed to more than 209 million needy children.
While Marine Corps Reserve coordinators organize, coordinate and manage the Toys for Tots campaign, the drive’s ultimate success depends on the support of the local community and the generosity of the people who donate toys, according to the program’s website.
All monetary donations submitted via the secure website for the Washington County area stay in the area. These funds are utilized to purchase toys where shortfalls are noted. One such business, Nella’s Cottage, an online home décor and gift shop, has raised more than $1,500 for the program by donating the proceeds from the sale of Christmas mugs during a campaign held earlier this month.
- What: Toys for Tots Car Show.
- When: Nov. 27, from noon to 3 p.m.
- Where: Carquest-Beau’s Auto Parts, 920 N. 2100 West in St. George.
- Registration: New, unwrapped toy.
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