While the dolls and other toys might be lonely in the donation boxes for the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots campaign this week, organizers are hoping plenty of company will join them during a final weekend push for contributions.
The big push for toys and other donations last weekend was derailed because of the massive winter storm that struck the area. This weekend, from Friday through Sunday, a new drive for donations is scheduled at Golden Triangle Mall, and new, unwrapped toys and monetary contributions will be accepted at other locations across the area.
“Everything was halted because of the weather,” said Army Reserve Cmdr. Norma Cabañas, who is helping coordinate the event.
While she doesn’t think the weather will impact numbers, she expects there will be a large volume of toys coming in over the weekend instead of a steady stream over the past week.
Now, the drive will wrap up a day before the deadline for donations. To accommodate the late push, Cabañas said they need volunteers to help sort toys Friday through Wednesday so they can still be delivered by Dec. 20.
“It put us behind a whole week and we really need help,” she said. “We’re going to be swamped with toys all at one time.”
Donations have begun to pick back up this week though after a slow weekend, mall manager Matt Ludemann said.
“We’ve gotten quite a few toys dropped off, just not necessarily last weekend but throughout this week,” he said. “On the bright side, because school was canceled Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, everyone’s been catching up a little bit on holiday shopping.”
Both expected heavy traffic this upcoming weekend for the rescheduled toy drive, which is being led by the Army Reserve 957th Quartermaster Company for the first time. Historically, Marine Corps Unit 989 has led the drive, but the unit is serving in Afghanistan.
Most of the originally scheduled programming for the drive will still take place this weekend at the mall, Cabañas said.
At noon Saturday, there will be a puppet show by Maricela and Friends, then at 3 p.m. the Bennay & Logan Band will play live music, followed by Stefan Prigmore at 5:30 p.m. Toy collections will continue until 3 p.m. Sunday. Also this weekend, a group of motorcycles will escort a military vehicle full of toys to the mall.
The final day for collections will be Monday. That night, there will be a drive at the Texas Woman’s University basketball game, where attendees who donate a toy will receive free admission to the game at Kitty Magee Arena.
Last year, the toy drive helped more than 3,000 families. To volunteer or learn more about the toy drive, check www.facebook.com/ToysforTotsDenton or contact William Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 940-381-0894.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.
WHERE TO DONATE
Donations of new, unwrapped toys and monetary contributions will be accepted at the following locations through Monday for the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots drive:
Golden Triangle Mall: 2201 S. Interstate 35E, Denton
Hickory Creek Town Hall: 1075 Ronald Reagan Ave., Hickory Creek
Aces Futbol Club: 1431 Bart Lane, Lewisville
Jostens: 3500 S. I-35E, Denton
Mukesh Saraiya, M.D.: 3200 Colorado Blvd., Suite 200, Denton
957th Quartermaster Company: 3250 Jim Christal Road, Carrollton
PointBank: 1700 N. Carroll Blvd., Denton
Little Elm Town Hall: 100 W. Eldorado Parkway, Little Elm
Denton Workforce Center: 1300 Teasley Lane, Denton
Keller Williams Integrity Team: 2434 Lillian Miller Parkway, Denton
Stonewood Ranch: 100 Parma Court, Sanger
CubeSmart: 4105 Fairway Drive, Carrollton
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: 3040 Justin Road, Lewisville
Pathway Core Training: 102 Decker Court, Suite 200, Irving
All Denton County Toys “R” Us locations