You asked: Where do the donated toys go?

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

Staff Writer

Q: Do the toys I donate to Toys for Tots in Beaufort County go to local children?
A: The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program is about as locally centered as charitable endeavors get, volunteers suggested.
And yes, these volunteers noted, the toys donated here end up staying here.
“What we collect in Beaufort County will satisfy the kids in Beaufort County,” said Rich Morin, a volunteer with Toys for Tots.
All of the toys placed in donation boxes around the county have been distributed in time for Christmas Day, said Father Kevin Johnson with Washington’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where the toys are conveyed to parents.
“I just want to assure people that when they put a toy in the box that there is a system in place that makes sure that a kid gets a safe, age-appropriate toy and that the toys that are collected from Beaufort County … come back,” Johnson said. “And we get toys from other counties to augment areas that we are short in our collections on.”
All of the toys gathered through the program in Beaufort County are boxed up, put on a truck and routed through a regional collection point as part of Toys for Tots’ collection process, according to Morin.
Next, the toys are brought back to Beaufort County and given to the parents whose children qualified for help under the program during a sign-up period, organizers explained.
Any extra toys, beyond those required to serve the local children on the list, are trucked to neighboring counties that need them, Morin said.
“It’s a lot of work,” he pointed out, “and people don’t understand what goes into it.”
In 2009, Toys for Tots reached 3,400 children with more than 7,500 toys in 11 counties in eastern North Carolina, Laura Bryant, coordinator for the 11 counties, told the Daily News in late November.
“Beaufort does take care of their own,” said Bryant, whose territory includes Beaufort County.
“The system that’s in place works very well to assure that every kid that needs a toy gets a toy,” said Johnson.