Dec. 9, 2010By Tim Simard Observer staff
As the holiday season ramps up, Williston residents might notice familiar barrels at various area locations. The statewide Toys for Kids of Vermont, the major civic fund-raiser for the Marine Corps League’s Donald Cook Detachment, began after Thanksgiving. Local volunteers hope as many people as possible will donate toys for underprivileged children.
Local organizer John Welsh, owner of The Town Cobbler, said this year is critical for the toy drive as many families are struggling to make ends meet in the shaky economy.
“We have a lot of people who used to give toys who are now recipients,” Welsh said. “It’s rough out there.”
Anyone can drop off a toy, new and unwrapped, anywhere the Toys for Kids barrels are located (see sidebar). Statewide, Welsh said, the fund-raiser collected thousands of toys for Vermont children last year. The toys go to organizations, including the Salvation Army, that help families during the Christmas season. People can also donate money for the cause, which will be used to buy gifts for children.
The Rotary Club of Williston-Richmond works with Toys for Kids to monitor the barrels and collect the toys to be dropped off at area warehouses. Rotary member Bill Skiff said donations have been slow so far, but he thinks the next two weeks will be critical.
“We really need the toys, particularly this year because so many people are in need,” Skiff said.
Welsh said economic problems over the past two years make it more and more difficult to ensure that all Vermont children have something under the tree on Christmas morning.
“We’re going to see what happens between now and Christmas and we’re going to do our best,” Welsh said. “Hopefully we can make this work and no kids go without Christmas this year.”
Toys can be dropped off in barrels at the following spots:
• Allen Brook School
• Asten Johnson Filaments
• Belle’s Café
• Hannaford supermarket
• New England Air Systems
• New England Federal Credit Union
• People’s United Bank
• Rocky’s N.Y. Pizza
• Shaw’s supermarket
• Texas Roadhouse
• The Edge, Sports & Fitness
• The Town Cobbler
• The UPS Store
• Williston Central School
• Williston Fire Department