United Way of North Central Florida’s 4th Annual Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Serves 66% More Families in 2015December 19th, 2015 by gainesvillechamber
More than 750 local children receive toys this holiday season
On Sunday, December 13, United Way of North Central Florida handed out toys to the parents of just over 750 Alachua County children – that’s a 66% increase in the number of families served over last year.
As a partner with the Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) Toys for Tots program, UWNCFL has been the largest distributor of toys in the area since 2013. The program, in partnership with the USMCR, aims to provide local children of low-income families with toys to open on Christmas day. This is the fourth year UWNCFL has participated in the toy distribution program.
Last year, the agency distributed brand-new toys to more than 450 local children.
“I am so excited we were able to serve more families in need this year. We know toys are not a necessity like food, water or shelter but for families without the financial means to provide gifts for their children at Christmas, it’s a signal to us of just how much the need really is in our community,” said UWNCFL President and CEO Deborah Bowie.
“When a family doesn’t have the means to provide toys for their children on Christmas morning, they are likely struggling in many other areas in life including paying the rent, buying food or paying for their utilities,” Bowie said. “We are grateful for the ability to spread a little hope and love this holiday season.”
The objectives of the annual Toys for Tots drive are to help children in need experience the joy of Christmas, to nurture the development of children, to unite members of local communities in a common cause and to contribute to the future betterment of communities. In the 63 years since the Toys for Tots program began, the Marines have distributed more than 419 million toys nationwide to more than 195 million underprivileged children.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone that has put effort to make kids happy on Christmas morning,” said one mother, Nina S., who received toys this year from UWNCFL. “I was touched by the generosity of the program. Unfortunately, these are the only gifts my kids will receive this year so it is greatly appreciated.”
For more information about the Toys for Tots Campaign, contact Norinda Yancey, who also serves as the Education and School-based Initiatives Manager for the UWNCFL.